First it was France a few weeks ago, and now today one touched down in Japan. It was a tornado. These are places we don't normally think of for tornadoes but they do see them each year. Unfortunately, the tornado in Japan was deadly and destructive. All pictures of the tornado and destruction below are from MSNBC.
The tornado touched down 40 miles north of Tokyo in the city of Tsukuba. You can see by the destruction below; this twister did considerable damage. A fourteen year old boy died and 30 more were injured.
Tornadoes are most common in the United States, but they can happen in many places around the world. We average around 1,200 in the U.S. each year. The geography are country is critical in why we see so many tornadoes. We have the Gulf of Mexico that provides moisture and warm air. The deserts in the southwest provide the dry air. With now water to block it, cold air can flow freely south from Canada. The right combination can lead to tornado outbreaks like a few we have seen so far in 2012 and several in 2011.
Interestingly, the Netherlands sees the most average number of tornadoes per area of any country annually. European tornadoes are often small and weak. Japan can also see tornadoes as proven today. Here's a look at a map of the world. The orange is showing areas where you are most likely to see the development of tornadoes. Europe and North America catch your eye as the largest areas. North American tornadoes can be far more violent and numerous. I talked about why that is in the previous post on the French tornado.