736 Fine-Scale Assessment of Mobile Home Tornado Exposure in the Southeast United States

Tuesday, 9 January 2018
Exhibit Hall 3 (ACC) (Austin, Texas)
Stephen M. Strader, Villanova University, Villanova, PA; and W. S. Ashley and K. E. Klockow-McClain

The Southeast U.S. is characterized by a distinctive tornado disaster landscape where a high tornado risk coincides with an extremely vulnerable population. A primary reason for the Southeast’s excessive tornado death and injury rates is the region’s growing mobile home prevalence; residents in this housing stock have an acute vulnerability to tornadoes and other windstorms that can intersect with reduced adaptive capacities to cause devastating consequences. In this study, we employ parcel-level (household-level) enumerations of mobile homes for Alabama, Georgia, Mississippi, and Tennessee to assess spatiotemporal patterns in mobile home exposure to tornadoes. Using a geographic information system, spatial statistics techniques—such as cluster and hot spot analyses—are employed to highlight locations in the Southeast that may be more vulnerable to tornado impacts given the concentration of mobile housing stock. The relative spatial clustering or dispersion of mobile home units (communities and parks that typify urban/suburban areas vs. isolated homes that typify rural areas) is assessed to evaluate how the spatial character of this vulnerable housing stock influences disaster potential in the region. This fine-scale assessment provides a more precise appraisal of mobile home vulnerability with the ultimate goal of promoting a deeper understanding of how vulnerability and tornado risk interact across the Southeast to create disaster potential.
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