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10:51 AM
Nathan Golia
Nathan Golia
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La Nina to Blame for Active Tornado Season?

The record-breaking year for tornadoes has many people searching for answers.

This weekend's Joplin, Mo. tornado raised the ante once again for tornado destruction: its death toll and loss estimates are just under half of the total from April's outbreaks.

Citizens of the midwest and southeast — and their insurance companies — are struggling to get a handle on what exactly is going on. Weather events like this are generally unpredictable in the long term. One possible explanation is offered by Mark Paquette, meteorologist for, who told Reuters: "La Nina typically has a more active southern jet stream. This spring that has played a role in the severe weather."

Joshua Wurman, president of the Center for Severe Weather Research in Boulder, Colo., added that current conditions — cool air clashing with warm, humid weather — are "very favorable" for tornado formation, the article continues.

Both experts noted, too, the effect of sprawl on tornado losses. More neighborhoods are located where once was farmland, increasing the chances of a higher-density area falling in a tornado's path.

Nathan Golia is senior editor of Insurance & Technology. He joined the publication in 2010 as associate editor and covers all aspects of the nexus between insurance and information technology, including mobility, distribution, core systems, customer interaction, and risk ... View Full Bio

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