Juan C. Ortiz and Monica Rosales
Natural Hazards Journal, Jul (2012)
Tornadoes have been reported in various places around the world. The United States is the country with the greatest number of tornado reports. In South America, tornadoes have been reported in Argentina and neighboring countries, such as Chile, Brazil and Uruguay. There are no reports of tornadoes in Colombia in the worldwide databases. The first tornado in Colombia took place in 2001. Up until now, four tornados have affected the northern part of Colombia. The objective of this study is to identify the climate conditions during tornadoes on the Caribbean coast of Colombia, specifically in the city of Barranquilla. Before 2001, we had no knowledge about tornadoes in the area. However, during the past ten years, these atmospheric phenomena have formed in Barranquilla and the surrounding metropolitan area. Worldwide databases on tornadoes do not register any such even in this part of South America. A review was conducted of the atmospheric information in order to establish the relationship between the increase in the temperature of the air and the possible influence of this phenomenon upon tornado formation. This study reveals that tornadoes have appeared between May and September, the months during which the city experiences the hottest temperatures throughout the year. The most significant tornado took place on September 15, 2006. This tornado lasted 15 minutes and travelled almost 10 kilometers. Of the four registered tornadoes, this was the only one to affect the residential area of the city. The other three affected only the suburbs located in the surrounding metropolitan area. The most recent phenomenon took place between July and August of 2010, during which three tornadoes could have potentially formed. However, the vortex never made contact with the ground. This article characterizes tornadoes as a new environmental threat, not an isolated phenomenon, for this part of Colombia. Tornadoes in this region should thus be included in global databases.
The meteorological analysis taken place is very basic due to the fact that climate information for the areas is limited. Still, what information we have reveals conditions that are typical to tornado formation: a mass of cold air combined with high air temperatures in the specific area.
Full text: http://link.springer.com/article/10.1007/s11069-012-0337-8