Why Are Tornadoes So Deadly This Year?

Why are there so many tornadoes this year? What is going on? A couple of things: The United States averages 1,000 tornadoes a year. We are on track to record the busiest tornado season ever recorded.  As of Monday we’ve had an estimated 1,151 tornadoes in 2011. Tornado season goes though June with the numbers dropping off dramatically after that month.


As you can see, most tornadoes are the “weaker” ones. A much smaller percentage of tornadoes are the deadly and destructive kind. What is different this year is the monster tornadoes are hitting highly populated cities. One tornado myth is tornadoes don’t hit big cities but this simply isn’t true. Minneapolis, St. Louis, Raleigh, Tuscaloosa and now Joplin were all hit by powerful tornadoes. Unless you are in an underground shelter, it’s tough to survive the EF4s and EF5s. We are nearing 500 deaths this tornado season and that is tremendously above average. Usually we have 60-70 deaths in the USA, but a big factor is where the tornadoes are hitting.

How prepared are you for a natural disaster? Our greatest threat is flooding and hurricanes. According to a national survey, only 7 percent of American household have a disaster plan or disaster kit. I was at a weather conference a few months back and the speaker shared what the problem is: We don’t think it’s going to happen to us.

Research found that the young and those with low incomes perceive less risk. The optimistic feel less risk. Optimism is a great trait to have, but when it comes to severe weather we have to realize “it CAN happen to us.” Many people in our society feel invincible and that bad things happen to the other guys. The biggest factor in not preparing for natural disasters is the length between events. If where you live recently got hit by a hurricane or tornado, you are more likely to be prepared because you now know it can happen. My question for you is: Are you prepared for our hurricane season? Do you have a family plan and do you have a disaster kit? The prepared usually fare much better than those who wait until the last minute.


2 Responses

  1. After preparing yourself, prepare to help your neighbors. In large events like the tornadoes, there are not enough emergency responders to get to everyone quickly. You can help fill this gap as part of a Community Emergency Response Team (CERT). Get information and a training schedule here: http://www.harriscountycitizencorps.com/volunteer/orgabstract.asp?org=10

    • Great comment and idea Ed.

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