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ARKANSAS TORNADOES TODAY [VIDEO]: KILLED NOT LESS THAN 17 PEOPLE. IS CLIMATE CHANGE CAUSING THESE MORE POWERFUL TORNADOES?

Travelers Today       By    Althea Serad

Updated: Apr 28, 2014 08:31 AM EDT

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Arkansas tornadoes today have reportedly killed not less than 17 people already Sunday, in a storm that hit Plains, Midwest, and South. The two separate tornadoes of the Arkansas tornadoes today were produced by a powerful storm system that moved through the central and southern United States.

According to the Arkansas Department of Emergency Management, it was early Monday that at least sixteen people had died after Arkansas tornadoes today hit central Arkansas. The Arkansas tornadoes today reportedly went down about 10 miles west of Little Rock at around 7 p.m. local time. The National Weather Service reported that the Arkansas tornadoes today moved northeastward for at least 30 miles and missed the state capital. However, it passed through several of suburbs, causing extensive damage in Mayflower and Vilonia.

The Arkansas Department of Emergency Management said that the Arkansas tornadoes today caused ten of the deaths in Faulkner County, where Mayflower and Vilonia are located. Other five deaths occurred in Pulaski County, while one death was found in White County.

Frank Mitchell, Vilonia Schools Superintendent said early Monday, "There's just really nothing there anymore. We're probably going to have to start all over again." He made the statement after observing what used to be a $14 million intermediate school set to open this fall. Because of the Arkansas tornadoes today happening at nightfall, the overall degree of damage, he says, would be impossible to find out until after sunrise on Monday.

The Arkansas tornadoes today apparently shockingly grew to over a half-mile wide. It relentlessly turned buildings into wreckage and removed leaves and small branches from trees. Not only that, but the Arkansas tornadoes today also tore cars, trucks and 18-wheelers stuck by Interstate 40 north of Little Rock. After the Arkansas tornadoes today was over, tractor-trailer rigs reportedly tried to navigate through the damage in order to resume their journeys. Bill Sadler, a spokesman for the Arkansas State Police said, "About 30 vehicles -- large trucks, sedans, pickup trucks -- were going through there when the funnel cloud passed over."

According to the National Weather Service in North Little Rock, the Arkansas tornadoes today is very likely to be rated as the nation's strongest twister to date this year.

Meteorologist Jeff Hood said, "It has the potential to be EF3 or greater. EF3 storms have winds greater than 136 mph. Based on some of the footage we've seen from Mayflower and where it crossed Interstate 40, things were wrecked in a very significant way."

Meanwhile, the White House released a statement regarding the Arkansas tornadoes today, where President Barack Obama promised that help for the recovery of the areas affected and praised the heroic efforts of first-responders and neighbors. Obama said, "Your country will be there to help you recover and rebuild as long as it takes."

The Arkansas tornadoes today was one of many which occurred Sunday along with a large storm system moving through parts of the Plains, Midwest and South.

Less than two hours before the Arkansas tornadoes today hit, a twister also struck northeastern Oklahoma community of Quapaw, which killed at least one person and injured six others. Director Joe Dan Morgan of the Ottawa County Emergency Management said Quapaw was extremely damaged and affected by the tornado. Quapaw currently has 900 residents.

Before it hit Quapaw and before the Arkansas tornadoes today, the twister moved northward into Kansas and struck Baxter Springs, a city about 5 miles away. Cherokee County, Kan., sheriff's dispatcher Josh Harvey reported several people injured and extensive damage because of the tornado.

Before the Arkansas tornadoes today, Sunday also brought tornadoes in Nebraska, Iowa and Missouri. Weather forecasters meanwhile cautioned areas not yet hit by the tornadoes should take care as many are still at risk of damage from hail and powerful straight-line winds. The hail stones may be as big as baseballs and wind gusts could reportedly reach up to hurricane-force -- 75 mph or higher.

Northern Louisiana and Mississippi are still preparing for severe storms in lieu of the Arkansas tornadoes today, and possibly flash flooding. According to the National Weather Service, northern Alabama could also experience rain and flash flooding, and central and northern Georgia with storms and heavy rain.

It seems that tornadoes are getting stronger as the years pass. So, is climate change a factor which causes these powerful tornadoes lately?

According to Accuweather, there is no strong evidence to support that tornadoes, like the Arkansas tornadoes today, are becoming stronger, more frequent or more widespread for the past 50 years in the U.S. The difficulty in tracking severe weather conditions is because reporting systems have changed so much over the years.

With the advent of technology and social media, the news of extreme weather conditions, such as the Arkansas tornadoes today, quickly spread to all corners of the U.S., and even the globe, so it's easy to assume that tornadoes are becoming stronger, especially with the amount of damage they produce, just like the Arkansas tornadoes today.

But this only addresses the question whether extreme weather is becoming more severe, but the issue whether climate change has a part worsening tornadoes, like the Arkansas tornadoes today, is still unanswered.

In lieu of this question, research suggests that key ingredients for severe thunderstorms include warm, moist air to fuel thunderstorm initiation and growth and winds that change with altitude, or wind shear, to help organize a thunderstorm and create rotation.

According to Harold Brooks, research meteorologist at NOAA's National Severe Storms Laboratory in Norman, Oklahoma, "As the planet warms, the moisture content of the atmosphere will also increase. And that's the basic fuel that drives thunderstorms. It's where the storms get their energy from... as we warm the planet that will increase the energy available for producing storms," Brooks said. "The other primary ingredient, the shear that organizes the storm, is likely going to decrease."

Indeed, it is difficult to ultimately conclude that warming climate is a definite factor in severe weather and tornadoes. According to Accuweather, there are still limits to research on severe weather changing with a warming climate. But whether there is limited research on how inhibiting factors of thunderstorms would change due to climate change, we still need to take care of our planet.

Arkansas tornadoes today have taken the lives of many. Though climate change and severe tornadoes aren't indefinitely linked, preparation is still key, and in taking care of our planet we will lose nothing and can only gain from it.

To get a glimpse of the damage of the Arkansas tornadoes today, see aerial video below.

See Now: The U.S. had the highest number of Most Wanted properties, dominating the Hotels.com Loved By Guests Awards 2018

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arkansas tornadoes , arkansas tornadoes history , arkansas tornadoes today , arkansas tornadoes path , arkansas tornadoes by county , tornadoes stronger , tornadoes stronger than hurricanes , weather news , tornadoe news , tornadoes getting stronger
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