Why So Many Tornado Deaths?


This is a theory presented by Accuweather meteorologist Mike Smith.  It took a while to wrap my mind around this idea, but it makes sense and should be a lesson to us in southeast Texas as hurricane season approaches.  First, Smith says it isn’t about the strength of the tornadoes.  Remember St. Louis, the week prior, had an EF-4 tornado going through a heavily populated area and an airport and no one died.  The tornado warnings with the St. Louis tornado and the outbreak April 27 were excellent.  In fact, on average, tornado warnings went out 24 minutes before the tornadoes hit.  What Smith presents is power failures stopped many people from getting these important tornado warnings.  Prior to the tornado outbreak, power went out for much of state because of morning storms west of Alabama.  The image below shows 260,000 people didn’t have power the entire day.  Without TV or radio, some people didn’t know what was coming their way.  This highlights the importance of having a NOAA weather radio or a battery-operated TV/radio.  A lot of us went through this same type of scenario with Hurricane Ike.  We lost power and it took days/weeks for us to get it back.  Have we learned our lesson?  I sure hope so.

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Past Weather Quiz Answers


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