Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Tornadoes and nuclear weapons

The recent tornado in Oklahoma is a great disaster, but the comparisons it has spawned are perhaps just as disastrous.

Fox News:
Several meteorologists consulted by the Associated Press estimated the tornado's energy released during the storm ranged from 8 times to more than 600 times the power of the Hiroshima bomb, with more experts at the high end.

True perhaps, but also highly misleading.

1. The tornado lasted 50 minutes, vs. a nuclear bomb going off instantly. In terms of "power per second", the tornado barely compares.

2. As modern nuclear weapons go, the bomb dropped on Hiroshima was tiny. It was 15KT, while the largest weapon tested was 15MT - a thousand times more powerful.

So yes, the tornado was bad, really bad. But comparing a natural disaster to a man-made catastrophe is rather deceptive.

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