EagleTribune.com, North Andover, MA

World/National News

June 15, 2014

Florida more vulnerable to twisters than Midwest

WASHINGTON (AP) — Oklahoma and Kansas may have the reputation as tornado hot spots, but Florida and the rest of the Southeast are far more vulnerable to killer twisters, a new analysis shows.

Florida leads the country in deaths calculated per mile a tornado races along the ground, followed by Tennessee, North Carolina, Ohio and Alabama, according to an analysis of the past three decades by the federal Southeast Regional Climate Center at the University of North Carolina.

That’s because Florida is No. 1 in so many factors that make tornadoes more risky: mobile homes, the elderly and the poor, said center director Charles Konrad II, who headed the new work.

“People are just much more vulnerable in a mobile home than they are in a regular home,” Konrad said.

Florida’s death rate of 2.4 deaths per 100 miles of tornado ground track is more than two-and-a-half times that of Oklahoma and nearly five times that of Kansas.

Along with Florida, Dixie Alley — including Arkansas, Louisiana, Alabama, Mississippi, Georgia, Tennessee, Kentucky, western parts of the Carolinas — is where “more people die from tornadoes” than anywhere else in the world, said Conrad.

Three years ago, a four-day outbreak of more than 200 tornadoes killed 316 people in Alabama, Mississippi, Tennessee, Virginia and Georgia.

Florida doesn’t get as many tornadoes as Oklahoma and they aren’t as strong, but when Florida does get them, “people are especially vulnerable,” Konrad said.

He presented the research at an American Meteorological Society meeting in Colorado this week.

Konrad’s work makes sense and fits with earlier research on tornado fatalities, said Florida State University meteorology professor James Elsner and Barb Mayes Boustead, a National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration meteorologist and tornado chaser.

Visibility is another problem for tornadoes in the Southeast. Because of atmospheric conditions, the region tends to get more tornadoes at night, making them harder to see, Konrad said. It also means some people may be asleep and miss warnings.

Text Only | Photo Reprints
Latest News
World/National News

Latest U.S. News
Dangerous Bacteria Kills One in Florida Visitors Feel Part of the Pack at Wolf Preserve 3 People Killed, Deputies Wounded in NC Shootout Suing Obama: GOP-led House Gives the Go-ahead Obama: 'Blood of Africa Runs Through My Veins' Amid Drought, UCLA Sees Only Water Texas Scientists Study Ebola Virus Smartphone Powered Paper Plane Debuts at Airshow Air Force: Stowaway Triggers Security Review Minnesota Fire Engulfs Home, Two Garages Southern Accent Reduction Class Cancelled in TN Obama Chides House GOP for Pursuing Lawsuit New Bill Aims to Curb Sexual Assault on Campus 3Doodler Bring 3-D Printing to Your Hand Six PA Cops Indicted for Robbing Drug Dealers Officials Unsure of UCLA Flood Repair Date At Least 20 Chikungunya Cases in New Jersey Raw: Obama Eats Ribs in Kansas City Broken Water Main Floods UCLA Raw: Amphibious Landing Practice in Hawaii
Latest World News
Today in History for July 31st Raw: 16 Killed in Gaza Market Strike Raw: Guinea Rap Concert Stampede Kills 33+ Raw: Deadly Landslide Hits Indian Village Graphic Video: 15 Killed at Gaza UN School Russia Counts Cost of New US, EU Sanctions Britain Testing Driverless Cars on Roadways Raw: Floodwaters Ravage Villages in Romania Raw: Thousands Flocking to German Crop Circle Raw: Otters Enjoy Water Slides at Japan Zoo Raw: Amphibious Landing Practice in Hawaii Raw: Weapons Fire Hits UN School in Gaza Raw: Rocket Launches Into Space With Cargo Ship Today in History for July 30th Raw: Aftermath, Artillery Shells Hit Donetsk Muslims Celebrate Eid El-Fitr Around the World Gaza Official: at Least 100 Killed Tuesday Kerry: Not Worried About Israeli Criticism US Ready to Slap New Sanctions on Russia Rodents Rampant in Gardens Around Louvre
Photos of the Week