Mt. Vernon Register-News

CNHI Special Projects

May 5, 2013

Tornado veterans balance preparedness, practicality

(Continued)

Kevin Simmons, an economist at Austin College in Sherman, Texas, has analyzed what it would cost for Oklahoma or Alabama to fund shelters for every single household, and found that it would cost Oklahoma between $5 million and $10 million per tornado-related death and Alabama about $40 million per fatality – an expense that may be hard to justify.

That’s because dying from a tornado is only slightly more likely than being killed by lightning. About 70 people a year are killed by one of about 1,200 tornadoes that hit the United States, according to government data. Lightning kills about 54 people a year.

Even in 2011 – a horrible year with 500 more tornadoes than is typical – the storms killed 553 people. Car accidents, meanwhile, killed about 690 people per week in 2009, and that was an unusually low number.

“If you’re going to force people to spend money, is it logical to force them to spend an extra $10,000 on a house when their biggest risk is dying in a car?” asks Tim Reinhold, chief engineer at the Institute for Business and Home Safety.

For anyone who’s been through a tornado, perhaps the real value of a shelter is peace of mind.

Upgraded Warnings

Rita White experienced an EF-5 tornado in Athens, Ala., in 1974, when she was a seventh-grader. “It was very, very scary,” she said of her memories of that storm, which made the 2011 tornado even worse.

Athens did not change building codes following the May 2011 tornadoes. Limestone County itself has no building codes, even though housing development is happening in unincorporated parts of the county.

The steps Limestone County did take involved getting better at communications and warnings. It added five satellite phones because of troubles with cell phone communications after the tornado, and it built a small call center so volunteers after a storm won’t have to use the desks of the three-person emergency management staff.

Text Only
CNHI Special Projects
  • Dangerous Darkies Logo.png Redskins not the only nickname to cause a stir

    Daniel Snyder has come under fire for refusing to change the mascot of his NFL team, the Washington Redskins. The Redskins, however, are far from being the only controversial mascot in sports history.  Here is a sampling of athletic teams from all areas of the sports world that were outside the norm.

    July 28, 2014 3 Photos

  • 'Rebel' mascot rising from the dead

    Students and alumni from a Richmond, Va.-area high school are seeking to revive the school's historic mascot, a Confederate soldier known as the "Rebel Man," spurring debate about the appropriateness of public school connections to the Civil War and its icons.

    July 28, 2014

  • Fast food comes to standstill in China

    The shortage of meat is the result of China's latest food scandal, in which a Shanghai supplier allegedly tackled the problem of expired meat by putting it in new packaging and shipping it to fast-food restaurants around the country

    July 28, 2014

  • wd saturday tobias .jpg Stranger’s generosity stuns Ohio veteran

    Vietnam War veteran David A. Tobias was overwhelmed recently when a fellow customer at an OfficeMax store near Ashtabula, Ohio paid for a computer he was purchasing.

    July 28, 2014 1 Photo

  • Screen Shot 2014-07-28 at 1.33.11 PM.png VIDEO: High-dive accident caught on tape

    A woman at a water park in Idaho leaped off a 22-foot high dive platform, then tried to pull herself back up with frightening results. Fortunately, she escaped with only a cut to her finger.

    July 28, 2014 1 Photo

  • CATS-DOGS281.jpg Where cats are more popular than dogs in the U.S.-and all over the world

    We all know there are only two types of people in the world: cat people and dog people. But data from market research firm Euromonitor suggest that these differences extend beyond individual preferences and to the realm of geopolitics: it turns out there are cat countries and dog countries, too.

    July 28, 2014 1 Photo

  • Bill Clinton coming to eastern Kentucky to stump for Grimes

    By RONNIE ELLIS
    CNHI News Service

    GLASGOW — Democrat Alison Lundergan Grimes is again calling in the “Big Dog” in her quest to unseat five-term Republican U.S. Sen. Mitch McConnell.

    July 27, 2014

  • How spy agencies keep their 'toys' from law enforcement

    A little over a decade ago, federal prosecutors used keystroke logging software to steal the encryption password of an alleged New Jersey mobster, Nicodemo Scarfo Jr., so they could get evidence from his computer to be used at his trial.

    July 25, 2014

  • Russia's war on McDonald's takes aim at the Filet-o-Fish

    Russia said earlier this week that it had no intention of answering Western sanctions by making it harder for Western companies to conduct business in Russia.
    But all bets are off, apparently, when you threaten the Russian waistline.

    July 25, 2014

  • Facebook continues moneymaking trend

    Facebook seems to have figured out - for now at least - the holy grail for all media right now: how to make money selling mobile ads.

    July 24, 2014

Twitter Updates
Facebook
Stocks