Monday, May 11, 2015

My Thoughts On The Nashville, Arkansas Tornado Tragedy.

The EF2 tornado which hit Nashville shortly after 11PM Sunday night is part of a problem we have been trying to solve for many, many years.

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.
Here's the coverage of the tornado warning.

3 comments:

79coyotefrg said...

Todd, I kept looking for updates from KATV online (no tv) and kept seeing only that footage. but kept looking at accuweather live radar and around 2:15 here in Clark co I thought we were about to blow away. I saw the last radar image and thought I saw a definitive hook and then the power went down. This morning not a 1/2 mile from me was the damage that THV11 aired tonight. that tornado left a 2-3 mile swath.

Anonymous said...

I am a resident of Nashville and an avid watcher of Channel 7. However, I must say that I was very disappointed with the coverage of the tornado as it was on its way here. I kept waiting for breaks in programming to update us on the tornado headed straight for us, but never saw any. I relied on Facebook and friends in Hope to keep me and my family updated. I love channel 7, but I wish I would have been able to watch the radar and hear updates as the storm was approaching. Fortunately I live in town and could hear the sirens, and also could keep up with it somewhat on my phone.

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