Twenty-seven years ago, on June 9, 1984, three fierce twisters struck several regions in the center of Russia. Such natural disasters have never occurred in Russia before. Can this nightmare reoccur in the country?
Three twisters were moving in the north and in the north-west from the Moscow region destroying everything on their way. One of the twisters, which appeared at about 1:00 p.m. destroyed a large forest near Sheremetyevo airport. Two hours later, the twister was 200 kilometers far from Moscow. Afterwards, the storm traveled for more than 100 kilometers and eventually disappeared near the town of Danilov. The twister did not cause much damage, because there were neither settlements, neither highways on its way.
Another twister that appeared in the Tver region did not cause much damage either. The way of the second storm was the shortest - approximately 100 kilometers. The third storm in the Ivanovo region was the strongest and the most destructive one. The wind speed of the Ivanovo twister was 100 meters per second.
"A large dark cloud with a trunk hanging down from it appeared near the city at 3:45 p.m. As soon as the funnel touched the ground, it started growing and getting thicker. The lower part of it was going up and down. It could be clearly seen that the funnel was swirling very fast, sucking things in from the ground and spewing them out higher. The noise was very strong - as if a fighter jet was roaring. The cloud, from which the twister appeared, was moving fast to the north. It destroyed houses, power lines, downed countless trees and threw railway cars off the tracks. The storm was tossing cars, buses and trolleybuses like toys," eyewitnesses said.
The twister did not destroy large concrete and brick buildings in Ivanovo, but tore its roofs off and smashed window panes.
The unusual natural disaster, which ravaged Russia in 1984, killed 69 people. Fifty-seven of them died in Ivanovo. As many as 804 people were injured. However, one should not trust the Soviet statistics if it goes about catastrophes. The Soviet authorities preferred not to say anything about them at all.
Other eyewitnesses said that the twister entirely destroyed two villages and left only piles of garbage and debris. Most likely, the number of victims was three or four times as much, although the exact number of victims remains unknown still.
It seems unbelievable indeed that twisters like that appeared in Central Russia. This natural disaster is most common for the south of the United States. However, twisters and tornadoes can appear anywhere in the world. The most important condition for them to appear is the presence of the so-called active convection zone in the atmosphere. Most frequently, twisters appear during warm seasons, in the afternoon from 3 to 6 o'clock amid thunder clouds of cold fronts and ahead of them. If a cold front arrives to a warm location, a twister is very likely to appear.
It is worthy of note, that they are mostly referred to as twisters in Russia and tornadoes in the States. A twister can appear anywhere indeed, if there is a cold cyclone coming across ascending currents of warm near-surface air. Scientists do not know, though, why tornadoes may and may not appear in such situations. A solution to this problem would give people an opportunity to predict tornadoes and save hundreds of lives.
Strong twisters appeared in Russia before too. The phenomenon was first described in 1406 near Nizhni Novgorod. The most destructive twister occurred in Central Russia in 1904. The twister appeared near Moscow, destroyed two villages and then ravaged the city itself. Over 100 people were killed and over 200 were wounded.