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Hackleburg, Alabama Tornado Expository Essay

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Updated: Jan 21st, 2020


In the wake of 28 April 2011, a tornado hit the State of Alabama and Hackleburg County. The essay is an in-depth examination of the event.

To successfully achieve this, the formation of the tornado, its tracks as well as associated damages are succinctly brought to light. According to Grazulis, 43 America has experienced numerous disasters such as hurricanes and more recently tornados.

These events are closely linked to changes in environmental conditions. The recent tornado that took place in April was the most serious one after the 1974 one that caused numerous deaths and damages.

By definition, a tornado has been defined as a column of air that spins rapidly that originates from a severe thunderstorm. The airs that rotates also known as a vortex that form in a storm cloud usually grow towards the ground and eventually touches earths surface.

Despite the fact that a tornado is not as strong a thunderstorm the damage it can bring is serious. This is attributed to the fact that it is made up of packs of winds having very high speed levels.

Statistics reveal that America experience about 900 tornados annually. The major states that have been hard hit with the phenomenon are Kansas, Oklahoma and Texas. The consequences include death, serious injuries as well as financial loss running in billions of dollars (Grazulis 163).

Formation of the Tornado

Generally speaking tornado are formed much he same way. However it is worth noting that scientist have not managed to fully explain how tornado are form, nonetheless there are some explanation brought forth that seek to give a glimpse of how tornado are formed.

Ideally speaking, the formation of tornado originates from changes in weather conditions, (Allaby, 35). The changes in temperatures as well as pressure in the atmosphere are attributed to formation of tornado.

Tornados are come into being after an interaction of low pressure air and high pressure air. The low pressure airs that are internal attracts high pressure airs.

The resultant is a vortex. Additionally, during thunderstorm, formation of tornado is apparent. In this process, enormous thunderstorms that rotate forms super-cells which are as a result of cold air meeting with warm air (Grazulis 27).

Ultimately, there is a state of instability that is as a result of the warm air that rises. It is worth noting that squall line formation which is typically a thin region of cumulonimbus clouds help in giving energy to the tornado.

In most cases, this is accompanied by rains, lightening as well as hails. Following this, a funnel which is the mot seen part of a tornado starts descending towards the ground as a results of Bernoulli principle.

The decrease in pressure makes the air moisture to condense. As thing happens, there is a hissing sound that becomes a roar immediately the tornado reaches and touches the earth’s surface.

According to Grazulis 72 upon touching the ground the tornado stars to sweep the all materials on the surface of the earth upwards. It is worth noting that the debris collected can change the color of tornado.

It is important to have in mind that the fatal part of a tornado is when air with very high pressure is being drawn into the tornado which is attributed to the destruction on the track it passes through.

Interestingly, tornado does not form in isolations but trough a group of small one that joins one another. Regarding the end of a tornado, this happens when the air moving down cools hence starting to shut down the funnel and blocking the drawing of warm air. It eventually thins out and become weak losing energy and finally disperses.

Track and damage of the Tornado

It is worth to note that the April 28 2011 tornado did have three major tracks in the state of Alabama. The hardest hit place was Tuscaloosa.

The three major track of the tornado can be clearly seen in the diagram below. In all the three tracks, it I worth noting that they were pale brown in color since the trees as well as other sort of vegetation were uprooted.

The resultant was a ground that was completely disturbed. The track that is at the center and caused huge damages starts from Southwest of Tuscaloosa through Gray City (SPACE.COM par. 3).

The same goes further to reach northwards in the direction of Birmingham. The other tracks run parallel o the one at the center. The one on the northern part is where a tornado was reported by NWS. Although the one passing through the southern part is much more visible, there were reports of a tornado but of winds that were very strong.

Figure 1. An image of Alabama from space shows tornado tracks from April 28, 2011.

An image of Alabama from space shows tornado tracks from April 28, 2011.


Regarding the damage caused by the tornado, the authorities link it with that of 1974. One that will remain in the minds off the American and more so to residence of Tuscaloosa is the shattering of buildings, destruction of vehicles as well as other related properties, (Oliver par 8).

Buildings such as healthcare facilities, schools, business premises, churches, chicken houses to mention but a few were completely destroyed; this is according to one Mr. Linhares Mark an officer with National Weather Service (NWS).

The same views are held by Nichol James “When you see a house that you drive by all your life and then you see nothing, it’s hard to describe” (Oliver par. 6).

Additionally, the destruction of plant life is another sort of damage that deprived the wild animals’ food. More serious consequences of the tornado are the death toll linked to it.

At the end of the disaster about 210 individuals were confirmed dead. It is worth noting that scores were left with serious injuries on their bodies. On the same note roads were also destroyed (Oliver par. 4).

From the review of Hackleburg, Alabama tornado that happened in 28 April 2011, the damages associated with it are indeed enormous such a shattering of building, death and destruction of roads.

The formation of the tornado was as a result of warm and cool air meeting; the differences in air pressure generated a funnel that swept across the State. There are three major tracks; one in the middle and two others in northern and southern parts respectively. These two were running parallel to the center one.

Works Cited

Allaby, Michael. Tornados. New York: Sage, 2004. Print.

Grazulis, Thomas. Significant Tornadoes 1680-1991, St. Johnsbury, Vermont: The Tornado Project of Environmental Films, 1993. Print.

Oliver, Mike. , 2011. Web.

SPACE.COM. , 2011. Web.

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