Some Tornado Science and History

Tornado Alley

Tornado Alley

NBC has done a nice job explaining some of the science behind the OK city tornado outbreaks.  And they provide an interesting chart that compares the current events with the deadly tornadoes of 1999, which is the frame of reference for many people in OK. The article is titled Curse or coincidence? Scientists study Tornado Alley’s past and future


I never get the kind of info I want from the news accounts. Since OK is centrally located in Tornado Alley, I would like to know things like:

  • what type of building/construction codes were in place in OK City?
  • what percentage of the population had a storm cellar or a safe room in their house?
  • how much tornado preparedness information and/or training was provided locally?


It is worth citing the quote from the Christian Science Monitor that I mentioned in May 2011, right after the devastating Joplin, MO tornadoes:

Yet the stunning death tolls from tornadoes this spring raise new questions about government subsidies for storm shelters, the psychology of warning response, the possibility of limited tornado evacuations, and the argument that tornado warning and response should be considered a national security issue.

2 thoughts on “Some Tornado Science and History

  1. If I lived in Moore, OK and had survived both the 1999 event and the 2013 event, I would not be inclined to stay and rebuild. Or I would include a safe room in the house, for sure.

  2. Thanks, Claire! When I looked up the Smithsonian Article, they had a companion piece about why people don’t move away from tornado-prone areas. It reminded me a lot of the survey you recently posted. People who’ve been affected by a tornado feel more optimistic about avoiding the next one than people who missed the path of the storm. We need to find better ways to talk about probabilities.

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