11.3 Projected Twenty-First-Century Changes in Tornado Exposure, Risk, and Disaster Potential

Thursday, 11 January 2018: 2:00 PM
Ballroom F (ACC) (Austin, Texas)
Stephen M. Strader, Villanova University, Villanova, PA; and W. S. Ashley, T. J. Pingel, and A. Krmenec

This research assesses how changes in tornado risk and vulnerability may influence disaster potential in the United States during the twenty-first century. Tornado disaster probability is estimated by integrating projected residential built environment data and simulated future severe weather environments. Results suggest that, although projected twenty-first century changes in tornado risk will play a role in amplifying disaster consequences and likelihood, growth in the human-built environment is expected to outweigh the effects of increased risk on future tornado disaster potential. Escalating future tornado risk, while holding constant societal exposure, will result in an approximate 50% increase in tornado impact potential; conversely, increasing societal exposure, while holding constant tornado risk, will yield a doubling in tornado-housing impact likelihood by 2100. Collectively, increases in future tornado risk and societal exposure may lead to a threefold increase in median annual tornado impact magnitude and disaster potential by 2100. In the face of both changing risk and vulnerability landscapes, states, cities, and communities prone to tornadoes must invest in windstorm mitigation and resilience strategies to reduce future impacts.
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