The National Tornado Summit is in Oklahoma City this week, as families in Alabama and Georgia clean up from the deadly EF-4 tornado that touched down there on Sunday. As we prepare for severe weather season, that storm tells us about what could be coming to Oklahoma.
Studies show that tornadoes are striking the Southeast more frequently recently. The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s warning coordination Meteorologist Dr. Patrick Marsh says a tornado in the South is hundreds of times more likely to kill people than a tornado in Oklahoma, simply because of population density.
“You put it in Oklahoma, there’s a chance that it may not ever actually hit a structure that somebody lives in,” Marsh says, “but if you take that same tornado and put it in the Southeast, you are going to hit places that people live.”
As we saw in Alabama, many of those places are mobile homes. News 9's Chief Meteorologist David Payne says that explains the death toll.
“You can do the best, safest thing you think is right,” he says, “but it’s still a modular home or a mobile home, and they’re just like toys in a violent tornado.”
Sadly, the victims of this storm learned that lesson the hard way.
David encourages you to use this opportunity to review your household's plan to stay safe, identifying the lowest point of your sturdy home or shelter that is farthest away from exterior doors and windows, as this season appears to be ramping up with the right ingredients that make a recipe for disaster.
David says, “I think it’s the beginning of what’s going to be an active spring, not just for the Southeast but for the Southern Plains and that’s just going to mean more severe weather, and at the end of the say, more tornadoes.”
You can depend on our team of experts to keep you weather aware and prepared in the months to come. Be sure to download the News 9 weather app for alerts about your area.