Tornadoes: The emotional and psychological trauma experienced by victims

Over the weekend, tornadoes hit the East Coast as part of a powerful thunderstorm system that left some US states with over a foot of snow. The intense storm, dubbed the “weatherbomb” by some,…

Tornadoes: The emotional and psychological trauma experienced by victims

Over the weekend, tornadoes hit the East Coast as part of a powerful thunderstorm system that left some US states with over a foot of snow. The intense storm, dubbed the “weatherbomb” by some, had a major impact in Iowa and North Dakota on Saturday. And it left at least 10 dead as tornadoes touched down in Iowa and Nebraska.

Though tornadoes rarely damage human lives and property in the US, the country is seeing an unprecedented amount of severe weather activity this year. And the government’s climate science agency has warned that this year could become the fifth in a row with a billion-dollar hurricane season for the US – and of course, the most intense hurricane season in more than a decade.

“Americans need to prepare for tornadoes to prepare their lives,” Greg Carbin, of the Storm Prediction Center, told CNN’s Rachel Streitfeld.

These emotional and psychological effects are sometimes very different from the physical ones, which can include broken bones, head trauma, bruises and eye injuries. Psychological trauma can also take many forms and include embarrassment, panic attacks, sleeplessness, and problems sleeping. It’s not unusual for tornadoes to be viewed as the beginning of a very hard-to-reverse mental state.

Click here to see the typical reaction to a tornado in New York City, and how people react to such storms in the Western United States.

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