P7.1 Spatial and temporal analysis of tornado fatalities in the U.S

Wednesday, 8 November 2006
Pre-Convene Space (Adam's Mark Hotel)
Walker S. Ashley, Northern Illinois Univ., DeKalb, IL

This study assesses, both spatially and temporally, the fatalities produced by tornadoes in the U.S. since the late 19th century. Results highlight the particular vulnerabilities and impacts associated with killer tornadoes that have affected the nation over this 120+ year period. Specifically, analyses evaluate the unique distribution of killer tornadoes that tend to focus on the southern-tier of the U.S – outside of traditional “tornado alley.” The study examines the specific causes for this distribution, including mobile home density, population density, land cover type, event frequency, seasonality, and time of day, etc. Time permitting, results will also reveal the distribution of fatalities by age, gender, and F-scale, where and how most fatalities occur (e.g., mobile vs. permanent homes, etc.,), trends in region- and state-specific tornado fatality frequencies, and the application of a tornado death index illustrating county-level spatial vulnerability. A more complete analysis of the geographic patterns associated with tornado fatalities is essential to improving education and mitigation efforts concerning these deadly hazards.
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