92nd American Meteorological Society Annual Meeting (January 22-26, 2012)

Monday, 23 January 2012
Spatiotemporal Analysis of Thunderstorm Hazard Mortality Rates
Hall E (New Orleans Convention Center )
Walker S. Ashley, Northern Illinois Univ., DeKalb, IL; and A. Osborne and S. Ashley

Previous research has examined the spatiotemporal distribution of mortality attributable to thunderstorm hazards such as tornadoes, nontornadic winds, lightning, and floods. In this investigation, we expand these findings by updating the mortality analyses through 2011, as well as depicting historical national and regional analyses of mortality normalized by population for the respective spatial metrics. In general, prior investigations have illustrated declining deaths (both absolute and population normalized) for most hazards at the national level. However, examining these mortality rates and their trends from a national perspective, and prescribing those same rates at regional scales, can be deceptive since there are many regions and, therefore, populations that have relatively low risk to thunderstorm hazards. In extending the record, we explore if the established trends in mortality have stalled for the four convective hazards of tornadoes, winds, lightning, and floods. Analyses demonstrate how vulnerability and risk can commingle at much smaller, regional scales to reveal divergent results from those found nationally. Fatalities could be reduced by focusing mitigation efforts in areas that have relatively high absolute and normalized death rates.

Supplementary URL: