Dr. Walker Ashley, a meteorologist at Northern Illinois University, published researched several years ago about the number of fatalities in our region of the country. He discovered there are more tornado deaths in Arkansas, Mississippi, Alabama, and Tennessee than in the traditionally known "tornado alley." Why? Here are his findings...
- Manufactured/mobile home density - The southeastern United States has the highest percentage of manufactured/mobile homes compared with any other region east of the Continental Divide. (According to the Storm Prediction Center, from 1999 through 2008, 49% of the tornado fatalities in the nation occurred in manufactured/mobile homes.)
- Nighttime tornadoes - The southeastern United States has a higher likelihood of killer tornadoes during the overnight hours.
Both of those points unfortunately likely came into play Sunday night in Nashville.
So what can be done to prevent this from ever happening again? That's an easy question to answer, but difficult to execute.
A very large percentage of tornadoes come with enough warning for people to take action. If you live in a mobile home and there's a tornado watch in effect, that's the time to take action... not when a warning is issued. It's recommended you must really stay weather aware and have the ability to seek substantial shelter in the matter of only a few minutes.
Getting that warning is another issue. NEVER, NEVER rely on tornado sirens if you are indoors, especially at night. You may never hear the sirens over the loud storm OR you could sleep right through it. It's always recommended you have a NOAA weather radio of another reliable way to receive those tornado warnings.
I do not know the circumstances surrounding the 2 deaths in Nashville. All I know is that two parents died protecting their small child from a tornado on Mother's Day. Words can't describe the heartache family, friends, and that child will have forever. All we can do is work to make sure it never happens again.
|Dr. Walker Ashely's research showing the highest number of deaths from tornadoes over the southeast and mid south.|