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Why U.S. Weather Seems Worse

Updated: Apr 28

Drone view of tornado damaged neighborhood that is surrounded by water.

Have you ever wondered why you don't hear as much about tornadoes or typhoons or even water spouts occurring in the rest of the world as you do in the U.S.? There's a good reason for that, and the answers are geography and global warming.

Unlucky Geography

Historically, the U.S. gets hit by stronger costlier, more varied and more frequent extreme weather than anywhere else on Earth. We can look at the "perfect storm" of geographic conditions that contribute to creating nasty weather:

  • Two oceans

  • The Gulf of Mexico

  • The Rocky Mountains

  • Jutting peninsulas like Florida, Texas, and the coasts of South and North Carolina

According to Victor Gensini, a meteorology professor at Northern Illinois University, bad weather in the U.S. "starts with kind of two things. Number one is the Gulf of Mexico. And number two is elevated terrain to the west."

When the dry air from the west blows up and over the Rocky Mountains, it crashes into warm, moist air from the Gulf of Mexico and creates a stormy jet stream. "That doesn't happen really anywhere else in the world," Gensini notes.

The United States also sits between two contrasting northern and southern climates called the mid-latitudes, which get the most interesting weather due to clashing colder northern temperatures and warmer southern jet streams. When these hit the West to East Jet streams, tornadoes, derechos, and other severe storms result.

While the Midwest and northern parts of the country experience severe storms, the Southern U.S. bears the brunt of mother nature's wrath. Every extreme weather event that exists affects the South, including wildfire