WRAL WeatherCenter Blog

My 10 year old son, Shane Grugin, asked me a question about tornados that I thought was very good. I do not know the answer to the question. Can you help? The question is this: For all the destruction that tornados cause, is there anything good about tornados?

Posted April 19, 2008

MIKE MOSS SAYS:      Jerry,   It's hard to think of clear benefits that tornadoes might have as a class that wouldn't be part of overall thunderstorm benefits like providing rainfall, fixing nitrogen (through lightning processes), providing wind that transports pollen and seeds, etc. I suppose you could stretch a bit in an ecological sense and consider some tornadoes as renewal agents that clear tracks through some wooded areas to create temporary meadowlands, allow sunlight to shaded areas and perhaps increase biodiversity, in a similar sense as with some forest fires. Of course, when tornadoes destroy property and cause injuries or death, it is very hard to put a positive spin on that, although one could conceivably stretch again for economic benefits that might accrue to those with construction and repair businesses, building supply companies and building materials producers, and those in the medical services and supply industry. It is an interesting thought exercise - if anyone has more ideas on this, feel free to add them in comments...


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