Tornado Safe Rooms. Do they make sense in North Carolina?. What are the Options?. Do nothing Promote individual responsibility Provide grants for individual safe rooms Provide grants for public/institutional safe rooms Promote stronger building codes
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Do they make sense in North Carolina?
Almost 20,000 deaths have been reported associated with more than 3600 tornadoes in the United States since 1680. A cursory examination of the record shows a break in 1875. Prior to then, it is likely that many killer tornadoes failed to be reported. When the death toll is normalized by
population, a near-constant rate of death is apparent until about 1925, when a sharp fall begins. The rate was
about 1.8 people per million population in 1925 and was less than 0.12 people per million by 2000. The decrease
in fatalities has resulted from two primary causes: a decrease in the number of killer tornadoes and a decrease
in the number of fatalities in the most deadly tornadoes. Current death rates for mobile home residents, however,
are still nearly what the overall national rate was prior to 1925 and are about 20 times the rate of site-built
home residents. The increase in the fraction of the U.S. population living in mobile homes has important
implications for future reductions in the death toll.
Deaths in the 3 May 1999 Oklahoma City Tornado from a Historical Perspective
HAROLD E. BROOKS AND CHARLES A. DOSWELL III*
NOAA/National Severe Storms Laboratory, Norman, Oklahoma
How many people are killed by tornadoes each year?
NWS records indicate 360 people were killed by tornadoes during the month of April 2011.
TOP 5 U.S. ANNUAL TORNADO DEATH TOLLS:
1925-794 2) 1936-552 3) 1917-551 4) 2011-550 5) 1927-540
On the average tornadoes kill about 60 people each year, mostly from flying or falling debris. NC 1950-2011 ~132 (57 in 1984 and 26 in 2011—so weighted average is 1 or less per year in NC)
Source: NOAA Storm Prediction Center
Most tornado-related deaths occur:
In the daytime
-between 2pm and 8 pm
At home or in vehicles
As of 1975, about 33% of deaths were in mobile homes, 25% in site-built homes and 13% in vehicles
About evenly distributed Female/Male
Typical age 45-63
-median age 54 +/- 9 years
How much advance warning can forecasters give us before a tornado strikes?
The current average lead-time for tornado warnings is 11 minutes. NSSL is working to increase tornado warning lead-times to 20 minutes.
How long is a tornado usually on the ground?
Detailed statistics about the time a tornado is on the ground are not available. This time can range from an instant to several hours. The average is about five minutes.
*NCEM began discussions and planning concerning the possibility of severe weather associated with the Saturday 4/16/11 tornado outbreak on the Tuesday before the event-4/12/11