2011 Tornado Super-Outbreak:
2011 Tornado Super-Outbreak: Investigation of the Southeastern States Vulnerability
Institution of Learning
Tornadoes are major causes of natural disasters worldwide. Over the years, tornadoes have been witnessed globally with varying intensities. Since this research discusses the effects of tornadoes, it focuses its argument on the 2011 super outbreak of tornadoes in the United States, which badly hit the states of Alabama, Arkansas and Tennessee among others. In particular, this research analyzes the result of investigations from the 2011 tornadoes super outbreak and its impacts, particularly on Alabama. Indeed, Alabama is one of the most affected states by the tornados. It is stated that 238 out of the total 324 tornado-related deaths occurred in Alabama. Other states that have been affected by the tornadoes include: Tennessee, Virginia, Arkansas, and Georgia.
The analysis of this research discloses the fateful damages caused by these natural disasters. They did not only ruin buildings, power lines and other surface structures, but also took the lives of many people. Although the government has been putting effort in enhancing the structural recuperation of the demolished region, it is apparent that the actual damages remain unknown as far as the number of victims of the incidence is concerned. In this regard, this research further focuses on the limitations of the interventions that had been put in order to save the situation.
Table of Contents
Problem Statement 5
Impact of Tornado on the Madison and Limestone Counties 6
Prevalence of the Tornado Strikes 7
Nature of a Tornado 7
The Event 10
Chronological Order of the Disaster 11
The 26th of April 12
The 28th of April 17
Design Criteria 18
Sample Selection 19
Design Validity 19
Evidence Collection 19
Research Questions 19
Literature Review 19
2011 Tornado Super-Outbreak: Investigation of the Southeastern States Vulnerability
Tornadoes are rampant natural disasters in the state of Alabama. Over time, the state has been undergoing serious losses attributable to the catastrophic tornadoes that have taken a significant number of people’s lives. As a result, there has been a wide craving to find a solution towards the natural phenomenon, which remains a major impediment to the development of the southern region (Wright, 1996).
In 2011, the tornado hit Alabama and took the lives of 297 people. One of the badly hit regions includes the city of Tuscaloosa, Alabama. In the following city, there are 83,000 citizans, and the University of Alabama is also situated there. During that particular incidence, according to some credible sources, the city police and other emergency service providers reported on extensive devastation within the city. It was also reported that there were 5 deaths and more than 100 people sustaining serious injuries following the storm. Indeed, the 2011 tornado strike in the southeast states of the USA has been the worst strike since 1932. It is claimed that this disaster took the lives of 318 people in the region (Hopping, 1994).
Indeed, the tornado affected numerous counties in the region, including Southern Franklin, Limestone, and Madison among others. In the Southern Franklin County, there were prolific damages both on the regional infrastructure and the buildings, as well as people. For instance, within about two miles corridor on both sides of the railroad, it was reported that there was a wide scope of damage. Several houses and block homes were collapsed in the following county. Similarly, the tornado also leveled down numerous blocks of the residential buildings, as well as destroyed their foundations (McDonald & Neugebauer, 1992). Additionally, cars were also tossed up and shattered across the length of the Tornado. This was an eminent feature when one of the cars was wrapped around the back of a tree within the Phil Campbell’s location (Spilsbury & Spilsbury, 2009).
Due to the high intensity of the tornado, a great number of trees along the path of the tornado were broken, and other trees were debarked or twisted. In the north-east from the point of Phil Campbell, the damage on Oak Grove was even more than the other parts of the region. This was because tornado reached its maximum intensity of more than a mile. Indeed, the tornado further extended its devastating effect on to the County of Lawrence, which is adjacent to the Mountain of Hope. In the following region, a great number of the single-family residential buildings and restaurants were also damaged or ruined by the tornado. Tthe catastrophic effect of the 2011 tornado was witnessed within the region. Similarly, other counties, for instance, that the Morgan county, many trees were heavily damaged by the disaster (Dougherty, 2012).
Impact of Tornado on the Madison and Limestone Counties
Essentially, a widespread damage was also apparent in the counties of Lawrence, Limestone, and Madison. Indeed, severe damages were clear adjacent to the community of Tanner and the Anderson Hills that are situated in the Madison County. Indeed, many roads were damaged in these regions. Similarly, a large number of the high-tension power lines were also subject to snapping in the Limestone County. Other damages included the snapping of the concrete power poles within the region. A widespread damage was also apparent in the eastern part of the Limestone County, as well as to the northeast of Limestone High School (Simmons & Sutter, 2012).
Thus, it is evident that the catastrophe had a maximized intensity in the community of Tanner located in the Limestone County. There was a large swath magnitude about EF-4 break. In the process, a number of the well-constructed residential houses were completely leveled down. Indeed, the tornado had high intensity, and the wind blew at the speed of 160/160 mph. The width of the tornado encompassed almost a half mile from the east to the north. During the incidence, most of the lifecycle of the 2011 tornado through the state of Alabama, it was clear that there were possible satellite vortices, which resulted in extreme demolition relative to the adjacent residents. Similarly, there were scores of trees being swept away immediately preceding the periphery of the circulation of the tornado. These were likely causes of the mesocyclone winds that converged facing up the tornado (Boyles & Guido, 2007).
Prevalence of the Tornado Strikes
Currently, the probability of a strike of a tornado has increased significantly. Based on the research findings, tornados are hundred times more likely to strike than they diid in the past.It should be noted that tornados were minute occurrences in certain regions, but nowadays, they can spre occur in various regions, especially the southern states (McDonald & Neugebauer, 1992).
In 2011, the United States of America was hit by the tornado, which was perhaps one of the most horrible one in history. There were about 145 tornadoes striking the US, particularly in the southern region. The 2011 tornado was considered to have the highest intensity, EF-5, according to the Enhanced Fujita scale, and to be the strongest in rank of all the tornadoes. In the incidence, 300 people died claiming to the worst and the most costly outbreaks on account of the natural disasters within the historic perspective of the United States. The following incidence is considered as one the most horrible occurrences. However, critical research reveals that the incidences of tornadoes have become more rampant and that the possibility of a strike has risen significantly in the present times. This is related to a number of speculative factors, including the climate change (Prather & Smith, 2003).
Nature of a Tornado
The occurrence and nature of a tornado is said to be apparently independent of one another. Consequently, experts state that the likelihood of the occurrence of a Tornado given the requisite condition in a day is as probable as any other number of occurrences (Boyles & Guido, 2011). For instance, according to the research conducted by the University of Florida between 1994 and 2012, there is more order in the statistical inferences of a tornado relative to the current assumption. Similar to the earthquakes and solar flares, tornadoes also follow a discrete power law and remain completely independent of each another. The research findings indicate that there are about 4.5 tornadoes every day with a varying magnitude (Dougherty, 2012). Consequently, this actually portrayed a worthless importance to foretell the probability of such a rare occurrence as in the case of the 2011 tornado outbreak. It is proven that the chances of having a strike of 145 tornadoes are approximately 0.014%. This is quite a small probability but worth examining. It should be noted that the rare occurrence of a tornado does not justify the negligence of this natural disaster. Instead, certain measures should always be consolidated to cope with such natural disasters, as well as to investigate the mitigation prospects of these disasters if any (Simmons & Sutter, 2012).
In 2011, tornado flew through the Tennessee, Georgia and Alabama regions and resulted into various widespread damages. It should be noted that a combination of both atmospheric and wind shear lead to a triple set of a distinct period with severe hostile weather conditions. This had the far reaching effects on the living condition of peopel. One of the periods came about in the morning hours in combination with strong tornadoes occurring via the squall line, beside the related mesoscale convective vortex. On the other hand, another squall line rushed across the northern region of Alabama, thus creating additional feeble tornadoes that were united with the minute straight line winds, which brought various catastrophic effects. These occurrences particularly blocked the work of the power lines, thus hindering any prospective reception of future warning from the forecasting agencies (Boyles & Guido, 2011).
The meteorological personnel from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration and the National Weather Service (NWS) undertook a wide survey to disclose the extensive damages of the tornadoes with respect to their durations, the ground track, and the intensity witnessed and reported during their occurrance. It is proven that each tornadoe is able either to strengthen or weaken across its path and the Enhanced Fujita status. It should be noted that each tornado is identified by its highest observed intensity. In Alabama alone, about 62 tornadoes were confirmed to strike during the year 2011. Out of this number, about 50% comprises the tornadoes with an EF-2 strength capacity. Indeed, the satellite remote sensing conducted by means of the Moderate-Resolution Imaging Spectoradiometer has helped in locating the paths and subsequent assessmentof a tornado (Levine, 2007).
There have been widespread damages caused by the high-intensity tornadoes in the region, increasing progressively towards the south. The employment of the meteorological equipments and expertise has assisted in finding out the effect of the 2011 tornado strike in the US. However, there have been a lot of controversies in the preparedness of the states, especially the southern ones, for the recurrent strikes of such a natural disaster, which has demonstrated a tendency to hit the southern states of the USA. Consequently, although there have been major interventions in averting widespread damages, a lot still should be done in order to mitigate the effect of such catastrophes, as well as to prevent the occurrence and increased frequency of such natural disasters as tornadoes (Spilsbury & Spilsbury, 2009).
Over a four-day period, beginning on April 25 through April 28, 2011, an astounding 356 tornadoes wreaked havoc from the northeastern region of Texas to New York. However, it was on April 27, successions of the devastating tornadoes (199 tornadoes in total) struck the southeastern states of the USA (Alabama, Tennessee, Georgia, North Carolina, and Virginia). The state of Alabama witnessed one of the most powerful and horrible tornados in its history. These strings of tornadoes took the lives of 361 individuals and injured 2,700 peopel. Economically, the tornadoes caused an estimated damage of about $4 to $7.3 billion (Cowell & Hayes, 2013).
In order to provide the greatest detail, the event statistics (number and severity of tornadoes, deaths, injuries, and economic damages) will be narrowed to the most affected state – Alabama. This state saw the greatest number of fatalities – 234. It is stated that Alabama also witnessed the most powerful tornado – an EF-5- according to the Enhanced Fujita Scale (EF Scale). The tornado tracked on the ground for 106.9 miles, and the wind speed reached 210 miles per hour. Thought this particular tornado originated in Hackelburg, it traveled across the state of Alabama, from Phil Campbell, Hillsoboro, Tanner, East Limestone County, to Harvest. This particular tornado was 1.25 miles wide. It was considered responsible for the most fatalities-per-tornado – 71 (Ackerman & Knox, 2012). The debris from this tornado was scattered in upwards of a mile away and passed dangerously close to the Browns Ferry Nuclear Plant (within 2 miles).
Tornado outbreak that occurred on the April 25-28, 2011, was perhaps one of the largest and most devastating tornado outbreaks in history of the United State. The effect of this tornadoe was very great, and there were catastrophic destructions along its every path. However, the states of Alabama were the badly hit one. Other states, such as Georgia, Arkansas, Tennessee, as well as Virginia among others, were also hit by the tornadoes. Nevertheless, the effect of the tornadoes on the southern region was eminent and more expressed relative to other regions of the US. The eastern states of the USA were amonf the most effected ones. According to the National Weather Service, the total number of tornadoes was recorded at 355 within a stretch from Texas to New York and to the Southern Canada. In fact, there had been widespread and destructive tornadoes each day before the outbreak. The worst of these tornadoes occurred on the 27th Aril, 2011. It was recorded that there were about 211 tornadoes striking from midnight to midnight (Lafon, 2006).
It is indicated that four of the striking tornadoes were very destructive, rating at EF-5, with is the highest rank with respect to the capacity of the Enhanced Fujita scale. In ordinary periods, these tornadoes are recorded perhaps once or twice in a year. In this regard, the tornado outbreak claimed many lives across six major states as stated earlier. During the period of the outbreak, there were impounding thunderstorms-related scenarios, such as flash flooding, straight-line winds, and lightning among others. According to the statistics reported by the Storm Prediction Center (SPC) in collaboration with the Emergency Management Agency, in Alabama, 238 deaths were confirmed as a result of the tornado incidence. The 2011 outbreak is considered the most costly natural disaster in the history of the United States with an aggregate damage of about $11 billion ar (Bragg et al., 2012).
Chronological Order of the Disaster
On the 25th of April, 2011, a very pronounced area of possible storms was predicted by the analytical forecasts of the Storm Prediction Center (SPC). The following center issued a relative risk of the strong weather conditions in the region for a period of about 3 consecutive days. From the preliminary report of prediction, this would range within the region form Arkansas to Tennessee. In the afternoon of the same day, a number of tornadoes were reported to occur in this region. The two strikes caused immense damages in the states of Oklahoma and Texas. In particular, the SPC issued a stern warning of a tornado strike in the Arkansas region and some parts of Missouri, Texas, Oklahoma, and Louisiana. Indeed, there were a scattered number of tornadoes the whole day till early evening. These tornadoes led to the devastating encroaching incidence of the strong and catastrophic weather conditions. As a result of the day’s strike, there was severe flooding across the entire stretch from the Red River Valley up to the Great Lakes. However, the tornadoes experienced on the 25th of April were of EF-2 value as per the Enhanced Fujita Scale (Wolff et al., 2009).
The 26th of April. During the second day of the tornado strike, there was a severe weather in such regions as Louisiana, Oklahoma, Arkansas, and Texas. The meteorological department was actively involved in issuing severe tornado strike warnings. Similarly, there were reports on the occurrence of tornados in the regions along the Great Lakes, especially in the afternoon hours. On the same day, some supercells began to track down two tornadoes within the Michigan area. They caused significant damages to the farm structures. Over the same day, another supercell dashed across the central part of New York for most of the afternoon. The golf-ball-sized hails were witnessed on that day. As a result, an EF-1 tornado occurred in the end of the day. It made significant prime damages to trees, as well as other susceptible structures. For instance,e a school filed was damaged in Gilbertsville. Indeed, this day was characterized with numerous EF-2 and a number of EF-3 tornados. These tornadoes had significant destructive capacities in the Texas, Louisiana and Arkansas regions among others (Uriarte & Papaik, 2007).
During the 27th of April, there were rampant high-risk issuesby the SPC, particularly focusing on the southern region of the United States. Similarly, the probability of a tornado as per the SPC accounts also rose significantly to about 45%. This percentage marked extremely high but rare issuance, which surpassed the high-risk standards. The outbreak was characterized with a cold front anf the low-ressure belts extending from the eastern part of Texas towards the north-east direction to the Ohio Valley. During the period, an upper-level disturbance that had emanated from the previous evening sparked again in the region of a thunderstorm that consequently trasformed into a squall line. The later line was perhaps the source of the tornadoes that struck from the late 26th to the early 27th of April (Simmons & Sutter, 2012).
There were a number of tornadoes that flew throughthe regions of Mississippi and Louisiana and then proceeded to the north and central regions of Alabama and Tennessee. The line became stronger as it advanced across Alabama to the Gulf of Mexico. At the same time, the wind shear was constantly increasing. The devastating experiences resulted in a number of strikes, including the EF-2 destructive tornado in Alabama. It affected the community of Holly Pond. Other subsequent tornadoes produced by a supercell comprising the EF-1 tornadoes occurred in the northeast regions of the Marshall County. Similarly, the line of storms blocked the work of the NOAA weather radio transmitter segments. As a result, most people remained uninformed about the weather conditions and futher occurrence of tornadoes (Levine, 2007).
The day was characterized with squall lines moving across the state of Alabama. The supercells increased the prevalence of the tornadoes as they precipitated most of the hails and eventually broke into tornadoes. Indeed, the cutting across of the supercells in the front phase of the squall line had the supercells developing along the front segment of the line, while at the same time spawning several tornadoes through the counties of Morgan, Madison, Limestone, as well as the northern part of Alabama (Gilliam, 2007).
In the afternoon, there was a declaration of a tornado emergency within the Neshoba County. The same tornado was also reported to reach the state of Mississippi. This tornado was reported on by the ABC affiliates, called the WTOK-TV, which is located in Meridian, Mississippi. The following tornado was of EF-5 intensity value. In fact, this tornado caused a number of damages to Philadelphia and Mississippi. In these regions, many residential houses were smashed up and thrown about 300 yards towards a wooden area. The tornado also swept away cars, and the earth surface was scooped to about 2 feet deep. Three people were reported to die in the incident when a mobile home was scooped and thrown about 300 yards away. After the incidence, a series of complex and violent tornadoes fell rapidly in the evening. They arose from a complex supercell touching down (Santos-Moreno et al., 2003).
Eventually, four major tornadoes rated EF-5 were reported on the very day. As a matter of fact, the tornadoes affected many counties, particularly in the states of Alabama and Mississippi. Smithville, Hacklegurg and Phil Campbell were greatly damaged. On the 26-th of April, two tornadoes with EF-5 rating, accoridning to the Fujita scale, were reported to occur in the following regions (Simmons & Sutter, 2012).
In the afternoon, a destructive tornado also struck Cullman, which is a city situated in Alabama. The high-intensity tornado was captured on cameras from the TV stations, such as Fox and WBMA-LD/WCFT-TV/WJSU-TV among others. Among the devastating effects that resulted from the latter tornado included the extensive demolishment of Cullman, which had a population of 20, 000 peopel. The following tornado was rated EF-4. As a result, the tornado damaged 867 residents and about 94 businesses within Cullman alone (IAU Symposium et al., 2013).
The Lawrence County of Alabama was also hit by a tornado. As a result, 24 people were killed. Followed closely, there was a strike in the city of Tuscaloosa, Alabama. The region next to Birmingham was also hit by the tornado. This followed the issuing of a tornado emergency warning for both Tuscaloosa and Birmingham, as well as other cities. The long-track tornado hitting both cities was captured by television stations, such as WBRC and CBS among others. As a result of the strike, a debris wall was noted by Birmingham NEXRAD as a sign that indicated that there was extremely high level of damages caused by a tornado. Furthermore, other exclusive photos from the scene of events demonstrated the catastrophic devastation (IAU Symposium et al., 2013).
In fact, the path of the latter tornado was reportedly similar to the tornados that hit small communities in the April in the year 1956 and in the April in the year 1998. These tornadoes were of EF-4 and EF-5 value respectively. These tornadoesh hit the region of Birmingham. Several accounts of the tornadoes caused the devastating effects on the cities of Birmingham and Tuscaloosa. It was revealed that at about 2.54 pm, the EF-4 tornado arose from the Newton County. It flew about 380 miles to the county of Macon in North Carolina where it eventually dissipated. In addition, the supercell also caused an EF-4 tornado and smaller magnitude tornadoes in Cartersville, Georgia. As a result, there were various damages to the objects and structures at large. Other small towns in Alabama also suffered the consequences of the tornado. These towns include Hackleburg, Rainsville, and Pleasant Grove among others (Heltzel & Leberg, 2006).
Similar accounts of the devastating weather conditions also developed in the afternoon of the same day. There was an interstate corridor ranging from the central and northern parts of Virginia via Maryland, Pennsylvania, and later on in New York. Strong tornadoes were realized in New York and the state of Pennsylvania. In fact, there was a violent EF-4 tornado that struck the town of New Harmony, Tennessee. In this town, houses and other buildings were demolished, vehicles were tossed, and four people were killed in the incident. In this regard, some of the most suffered communities include Horse Creeks and Camp Creek, which incurred huge damages. There was also an EF-4 tornado strike that smashed a stretch of 14 miles of forest in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park. At Lake Chilhowee, the tornado tore away the huge metal power lines truss towers and threw them away from their concrete supports (Monmonier, 1998).
On account of this day incidences, the number of fatalities provided by the officials within the state emergency management taskforce counted as 324 out of which only 23 resulted from non-tornado related incidences (Knox et al., 2013). Indeed, severe damages and power outages within the region of Huntsville were extensive as indicated by a single scenario. It was reported that 650,000 individuals could not reach out power supply within the scope of the Tennessee Valley Authority System. In fact, the tornado that rose through the Limestone County caused severe damages tp the main power line that goes from the Browns Ferry Nuclear Plant. The towers acted as the main electric power suppliers to the vast regions of North Alabama. Because of the tornado, some people ran out of power for the period of two weeks (Simmons & Sutter, 2012). Fortunately, the tornado did not hit out the Limestone Correctional Facility. 20 deaths were reported in Ringgold, Georgia, Tennessee and Cleveland as a result of the violently striking EF-4 tornado (Kukla, 2003).
The town of Ohatchee in Alabama was also hit by an EF-4 tornado. It caused devastating damages to various buildings, and 22 people were reported to die. The following day also witnessed the strikes of tornadoes in other towns, such as Cordova, Trenton, Lake Martin, and Eoline in Alabama. On the same day, it is indicated that the Storm Prediction Center (SPC) received a total of 292 tornado reports within the preceding 24 hours (Simmons & Sutter, 2012).
As to the severity of the incidence, on the 27th April, 2011, a total of 211 were reported in the US. It was reported that 59 tornadoes hit Alabama and 71 hit Tennessee, making a total of about 130 tornadoes. The following number exceeded 50% of the total number of tornadoes that occurred on that day in the USA. According to the National Weather Service of Huntsville, the state of Alabama issued 92 warnings on tornado strikes, 7 flash flood warnings, and 31 warnings on a severe thunderstorm. On account of the day’s eventuality, it is clear that the second day of the tornado strike was indeed marred by a series of strikes spread out across a vast region, but the epicenter was in the Alabama and Tennessee regions (England, 1997).
The 28th of April. On the 28th April, there was the issuing of tornado observations along the Atlantic coast, starting from Pennsylvania to Florida. The tornadoes were observed from the early morning to the early afternoon. However, the predicted tornadoes were particularly isolated and weaker that those of the previous ones. On that very day, several tornadoes were reported in such states as Virginia, South Carolina, Florida, North Carolina, and Maryland. Similarly, severe flooding was also witnessed in the East, South and Midwest Seaboard. Despite the ranging level of destruction, the 28th April incidences marked the end of the season of the outbreaks of tornadoes in several regions and brought some relief to people of the most affected states – Alabama and Tennessee. Over the period, the weather forecasting departments and the Storm Prediction Centers proved quite critical in reducing the received damages, particularly due to the reliable predictions concerning the tornadoes that facilitated evacuative measures wherever it was possible. In total, the number of the confirmed EF-5 tornadoes was four, whereas there were eleven EF-4 tornadoes. Over the whole super outbreak period, a total of about 355 tornadoes were confirmed (Svenvold, 2005).
This research s aimed at finding out the due causes and vulnerability factors of the southern states of the US to the tornado strikes. This section will provide a framework which information regarding the vulnerability of the southern states is based upon in order to provide views and suggestions related to the issues of the extreme weather conditions. The following section focuses on explaining various elements and factors that the sample region of study has faced. In particular, the research will entail a focus on the problematic issue of the tornadoes and the vulnerability issues of the southern eastern states besides evaluating on the mitigation procedures that has been employed so far in order to step up recommendations.
In particular, the research will focus on various means employed to unveil the destiny of the paper particularly, to unveiling the aspects of target of the paper with respect to research question under which the problem tornado incidences are concerned. To achieve the core objective of the research, this section will employ a well-defined procedure that allows providing clear steps prior to the acquisition of the needed information. In this regard, various sources are explored in order to provide a base for understanding different aspects of the problem in question and, therefore, a solution to the above-stated problem. The main respondents would, therefore, comprise the weather departments of the respective regions, particularly the state of Alabama, which was the main recipient of the super outbreak.
This research will comprise a model of the research undertaking process. In particular, this research will involve the experts in the weather and meteorological disciplines who can provide the necessary information regarding the fatal incidences. In particular, the research team will involve two major groups guided by the intensity of the point of study and the information regarded. In this regard, this research is aimed at conducting two parallel researches concerning the 2011 tornado incidence. In particular, the first group will have to establish the incidences by observing and interviewing some of the occupants of the badly hit regions of Alabama, especially along the Atlantic coast.
The second group will have to collect certain details on the events from the National Weather Service Center ands the Storm Prediction Center (SPC). These centers can provide alternative sources of data on the intensity of the tornadoes and the prevailing weather patterns. Similarly, the team will gather the information from the media centers, such as the WBMA-LD/WCFT-TV/WJSU-TV and Fox. In particular, the media would form one of the major sources of visual footages of the incidences from their archives. Additionally, this research will also entail the collection of overall procedures that will allow establishing a well-equipped structure of the correspondent team of personnel. The following team personal will be aimed at correcting and disseminating the data through the web, thus easing the process of data acquisition and subsequent submission to the research control panel located in the town of Tuscaloosa, Alabama.
Basically, this research will be based on the state of Alabama. In fact, Alabama is reported to be one of the most badly hit states by the tornadoes in 2011. Consequently, this forms the basis of analysis regarding the source and the effect of the striking tornadoes. Furthermore, the basis of the research on Alabama will also provide an opportunity to digress to other regionsl that perhaps were on the frontline or the squall line of the tornados. Thus, this allows pondering on the sources, causes and level of damages not only in Alabama, but also in other states of the USA.
This research is designed to represent certain regions that were affected by the tornadoes during the April in the year 2011. Similarly, the research is also designed to cover up both the victims of the tornado, as well as other credible observers, such as SPC. Visual aids will be used as a prime quantifier of the actual losses caused bu the tornadoes. To achieve this, the following research is designed to collect the data from the media recording centers, such as Fox and WBMA-LD/WCFT-TV/WJSU-TV. Thus, the research team will be able to gather visual footages of the actual incidents to supplement other secondary sources of data at its disposal. Similarly, physical observation of the aftermath of the tornado strikes will also provide a ground for affirmation of the real effects of the super outbreak as far as the ground events are concerned.
The problem of tornado has been prevalent in the southern states relative to other regions of the USA. The 2011 tornado strike was evidently highly exposed to the southern regions and the state of Alabama in particular. It can be concluded that the southern region is more prone to the tornado strikes than other states. In this regard, this research will, therefore, focus on the data collection within the state of Alabama. This will, therefore, necessitate the incorporation of the improved data collection mechanisms, such as computer-aided interviews and ‘skyping.’ These mechanisms will allow conducting the distant analysis outside the state of Alabama.
(i) Why are the southeastern states more vulnerable to tornadoes thah the other ones?
(ii) What mitigation strategies can be implemented to lessen the vulnerabilities and increase overall resiliency?
(iii) How did the multiple waves of severe storms affect the warning systems?
Tornadoes are major challenges in the United States. Indeed, the United States of America is perhaps the most vulnerable destinations for tornadoes in the world. Many researchers have attributed the incidences to the poor weather patterns. In this regard, there has been a stiff craving to identify and provide a permanent solution to the problem of tornados. It should be noted that the craving has been futile such a natural disaster as a tornado happens despite the pronounced mitigations measures. According to the examination of the past 30 years conducted by the Federal Southeast Regional Climate Center at the Florida University, Florida is one of the leading states in the USA in terms of deaths related to the tornado strikes (Darwish, 2012). Similarly, this toll is followed by Tennessee, North Carolina, Ohio, and the Alabama among other states. Further research indicates that the death rates in Florida stood at about 2.4 deaths for every square mile by virtue of the tornado-related deaths a level which is 2.5 and 5 times more prevalent than the incidents of Oklahoma and Kansas respectively (Darwish, 2012).
One of the proposed reasons for the high prevalence of the Florida’s high-fatality rate relative to its regional counterparts is the fact that there has been increasingly prevalence of the mobile homes, as well as the huge populations of both poor and elderly people. However, it is recorded that Florida does not encounter many tornadoes if to comparee to its counterparts, Oklahoma and Kansas. However, during any strike, the Florida’s residents are highly susceptible to its aftermath. This implies that people are more vulnerable to the adversity of tornadoes in the mobile homes than in the regular houses. Similarly, according to the research by the Florida University, poor visibility also raises the susceptibility of the southern-eastern states to the ornado attacks. Indeed, the region has favorable atmospheric conditions, which leads to the tornado attacks at the night time. Consequently, many people are asleep and often fail to evade warnings despit broadcast by the SPC and other weather prediction agencies. Other regions with high prevalence of tornados include Louisiana, Arkansas, Mississippi, Georgia, Tennessee, as well as some western parts of Carolina (Spriggs et al., 2001).
Most of the devastating effects of the tornadoes have been subject to the temporarily residential structures, such mobile homes. After the strike of the tornadoes, particularly in 2011, the government has been craving for a long-term solution to the problem with the short-term measures aimed at consolidating efforts towards the protection of the lives of residents. However, the government has failed to plan and organizing some relief missions for the people victimized in the tornadoes strikes. Essentially, there have been a long interim between the government processes of planning towards the reduction of the natural fatalities and the actualization of the planning. In particular, this long-term delay has left most of the victims of the 2011 tornado incidence quite uncertain of their futures (Simmons & Sutter, 2012).
While responding to the desperate calls for assistance from the region due to the losses incurred during the 2011 tornado strike, the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FAMA) released $13.6 million in the form of loans and grants to help the affected citizens in fixing and supporting the housing projects. In particular, about $3 were used up by the Alabamians. However, the government failed to establish the aggregate damages that the tornadoes caused through auditing. As a result, the attempts to raise the funds to finance the recuperation process have been marred by numerous challenges, including the predetermination of the loss values within the context of the US’s affected states. The funds of the FEMA are, therefore, unclear with regard to sufficiency in order to fund the recuperation projects (Raum, 2011).
While all measures have been taken to avert the incidences of a tornado strike, the natural disaster prevalence remains relatively high in the southern and eastern regions of the USA. Indeed, poverty has been critical to the damages that have been witnessed in most regions after the strike of tornados. In particular, Florida has been one of the regions where many people died due to poor residential structures or mobile housing. In the fateful incidences of the tornadoes or other natural disasters, such housing becomes highly vulnerable to destruction, and the occupants of the houses become the victims of the incidences.
The government has been putting consolidated efforts in order to enhance the safety measures within the country through the federal emergency agencies. For instance, the Storm Prediction Center and the National Weather Service have been criticized for producing prior warnings concerning the tornado attacks or other catastrophic weather patterns. However, unpreparedness was one of the major issues that led to widespread damages, especially in the poor residential areas. However, due to the wrong timing of the tornado attacks, the majority of people were asleep and failed to listen to the warnings of the SPC. Furthermore, these people were sheltered in the mobile houses, which were highly susceptible to the bad influence of the weather conditions. Consequently, this factor led to the loss of many people’s lives, especially in Alabama and Florida (Hollingshead & Nguyen, 2008).
Similarly, the media has been playing a pivotal role in moderating the damages. In particular, popular TV stations would cover the incidences and warn people regarding the approaching disasters prodicted by forercast the SPC. Consequently, this enabled most people to escape the path of the tornados. The community inhabiting the Sothern eastern states also had perennial past disturbances since it was the hub of battle of the European powers between the settlers and the indigenous groups struggling involving the North and the South during the American Civil War period, civil movements, as well as the social change fighters who have been subject to the distortion of the deep south serenity for many years encroaching into the middle of the 20th century (Knox et al., 2013).
Due to such past incidences, the state of Alabama among other southern states in general witnessed European power domination, an aspect that hurt the regional social-economic order thus, making the populations of the southern states highly susceptible to any foreign intrusion both natural and artificial detonations. Thus, the majority of the people in the southern states cannot afford proper housing and high-living standards. As a result, many people depend on mobile housing. They are more vulnerable to external intrusions by tornados. On the same account, the majority of the population has also been subject to the tornado effects due to the low defensive mechanisms, as well as the low uptake of meteorological warnings.
The relief is also believed to influence the weather pattern in the region. As to the relief, elevation rises significantly to about 1,800 feet in the excessively rugged eastern segment. Also marked by divisions is the Great Appalachian Valley to the east. Also making up the landscape is the small triangular section of Piedmont Plateau that emerges from Georgia via an elevated altitude of about 1,000 feet. However, the state landscape change markedly from rugged, and the forest-clad highlands to the Ridges within the region of Appalachians extremities which creates a segment of lower country along the coastal line. Similarly, the plan is comprised of some sub-divisions such as the Rolling Fall Line Hills to the north and the pine; hardwood belts express the condition of the southern region. The latter phase of the land presents a scenario of clearly differentiated land segment which has been elemental ion determination of the prevailing weather. In fact, Alabama and most of the southern eastern states are characterized with severe weather conditions (Knox et al., 2013).
Tornadoes forms circular column comprising of low pressure of fast circling winds at a speed of between 200 and 500 miles per hour. Consequently, the wide birth wind in high speed can therefore cause widespread damages along their path. Other counts indicate that tornadoes are responsible for about 90 deaths of people in US every year. Wind factor in a tornado is the component of the tornado that is responsible for the widespread destruction. Within the United States, the National Weather Service (NWS) has been consistently issuing tornadoes watches and warnings (Coggins, 2011). Tornado watch refers to a condition conducive for it to occur. On the Other hand, warning implies that a tornado is about to occur.
About 90 percent of all the tornadoes within the United States occur as a result of storms created by a swash of cool dry air from the poles particularly from Canada meeting the warm moist air from the Mexican Gulf. On account of the latter, it is estimated that about 1200 tornadoes touchdown in US annually. However, most of the incidences take place in the uninhabited regions. While at it, there is a particular region in US comprising of the Oklahoma and Kansas commonly called Tornado Alley.
The government should work out and provide various evacuation plans, analyze the impacts of the tornadoes on, cooperate with the weather prediction agencies in order to provide a credible statistical inference regarding the frequency and occurrence of tornadoes, as well as mitigating the fatalities and various damages. Apparently, it is clear that there has not been sufficient information regarding the victims of the tornado strikes, thus making recuperation efforts quite futile. Various proficient measures of prediction should be worked out and implemented to avoid the occurrences of tornadoes. People should be informed about an impending tornado strike within the period of about one week to a month. This would enable most people to move to other safer regions, thus avoiding the squash line or the path of the tornado. Similarly, with intensive involvement, the governments should provide clear statistics, which could beallowdistributing financial support to the affected people. As a result, this would exclude the necessity for the speculative missions as the ones incurred by the FEMA.
There have been diverse perceptions towards the vulnerability of the southern and eastern regions of the United States as far as tornadoes are concerned. However, despite the overwhelming deaths witnessed in the mobile house inhabitants, it is critical to acknowledge that most of the permanent residential house occupants wee also victimized in the events of strong tornadoes strikes such as the EF-5 strikes. In particular, the 2011 tornadoes super outbreak recorded 4 EF-5 tornadoes which eventually caused extensive damages. However, the tornadoes that occurred in 2011 are considered the most powerful tornadoes in the history of the USA.
Similarly, the available warning systems comprised the shorter-lead time warnings. As indicated in the analysis, incidences of tornadoes damaged power lines and caused power outages in most regions thus, preventing the reception of the warnings in certain regions. As a result, majority of people were caught up unaware. Similarly, this crippled the power supply to the Emergency Alert System (EAS) towers thus leading to the wrecked sounding of alarms.
As a result of the disaster, the government and other humanitarian agencies should consolidate their efforts to prevent the consequences and damages of the tornadoes. Such structures would mitigate the destructive capacity of any subsequent tornado; though, relatively high costs should be incurred on various things. For instance, some states within the United States have initiated the legal prescription that the owners of the mobile homes should construct a common shelter for the whole community. As a preventive mechanism, all the southern states should seek to implement such proposed policies. The government and the civil society should construct the community shelters that would promote the communal resistance to tornado strikes among other natural disasters.
Although the regional media were proactive in airing the information regarding the incidences and the warnings, most people had no access to the weather alert radio gadgets due to the poor economic conditions. As a result, in future, the government should seek to provide means of enhancing the acquisition of such gadgets. This could be done through either grants or discounted prices of the gadgets or the tax reductions on the gadgets. Since a tornado is a natural disaster, man has no control over it as far as the time of a strike is concerned. However, the presence of efficient posted shelter locations and the systems of alerts could easily reach out to all people, thus promoting the safety plans.
Ackerman, S. A., & Knox, J. (2012). Meteorology: Understanding the atmosphere. Sudbury, MA: Jones & Bartlett Learning.
This resource provides a contextualized account of the tornado incidences of the 2011 super outbreak with respect to the expert points of view. in particular, the resource focuses on the meteorological perspective of the tornadoes which was a critical mitigation plan to reducing the catastrophic invasion of the tornadoes on most segments of the Southern eastern states.
Boyles, B., & Guido, P. (2007). Fifty years of college football: A modern history of America’smost colorful sport. New York: Skyhorse Pub.
This resource provides a historical background of the people inhabitants of US. As a result, the resource provide essential information upon which the current level of social-economic factor of the people lies and perhaps dictates the vulnerability factor to natural disaster due to poor housing thus, the temporary, mobile housing.
Boyles, B., & Guido, P. (2011). The USA today college football encyclopedia: A comprehensivemodern reference to America’s most colorful sport, 1953-present. New York: Skyhorse.
Similarly, this resource also shed light on the American historical background, social-cultural framework that dictates the current development factor in region. to achieve this, the resource provides a discrete portfolio of the American lifestyle today which dictate the people’s ability to withstand natural attacks.
Bragg, D. C., Stahle, D. W., & Cerny, K. C. (2012). Structural attributes of two old-growth cross timbers stands in Western Arkansas. The American Midland Naturalist, 167(1), 40-55.
In the light of this resource, the understanding of the structural characteristic of the region as far as the natural features including trees and vegetation in general is concerned. In particular, trees are critical to the breaking up of wind patterns in any given set ups. Consequently, this resource provides a background to understanding the impact of vegetation in withstanding the tornadoes influences among other critical natural hazards such as erosive power of the wind and water.
Coggins, A. R. (2011). Tennessee tragedies: Natural, technological, and societal disasters in the Volunteer State. Knoxville: University of Tennessee Press.
Basically, this resource provides a contextualized impact of the tornado based on one of the badly hit regions, Tennessee which was perpetuated by the natural impacts of severe weather patterns. In fact, this resource provides an in-depth analysis of the natural disasters with a broad understanding of the tornado.
Cowell, C. M., & Hayes, J. J. (2013). Structure, history and dynamics of a mature oak beech forest in western Indiana 1. The Journal of the Torrey Botanical Society, 134(2), 215-222.
This resource provides an understanding of the historical perspective of the weather pattern and its effect on the land. In its analysis, the resource provides a broad coverage of the changing patterns of the weather which has led to increased vulnerability of the land to aggression from the sea.
Darwish, N. (2012). The devil we don’t know: The dark side of revolutions in the Middle East. Hoboken, N.J: Wiley.
This resource analyzes the social impacts of severe weather in a different context. having said that tornadoes are not a problem of the US, this resource provides a comparative framework which boost the impacts of tornadoes in not only US but also other regions globally.
Dougherty, T. (2012). The worst tornadoes of all time. North Mankato, MN: Capstone Press.
This resource is subjectively very critical to this research, in particular, it contextualizes type and intensities of the tornadoes experienced in the past on an account of the magnitude as portrayed in the Enhanced Fujita Scale.
England, G. (1997). Weathering the storm: Tornadoes, television, and turmoil. Norman: University of Oklahoma Press.
This resource provides an analytical perspective in which the storms rocking the southern eastern region of the US could be mitigated. In particular, it provides an in-depth pre-analysis of the cause of the storm and the supercells that lead to the development of tornadoes. This information is critical tp the development of sustainable resistance to natural disaster prevalence.
Gilliam, F.S. (2007). The ecological significance of the herbaceous layer in temperate forest ecosystems. Bioscience, 57(10), 845-858.
The resource analyzes the ecosystem balance where a system of factors works hand in hand towards establishing a state of balance. Essentially, having addressed the factor of the climate change and its impact on the occurrence of natural disasters and tornadoes I particular, this resource provides a background upon which the mitigation plan may be laid and subsequently reducing the invasion rate of natural disasters.
Heltzel, J. M., & Leberg, P.L. (2006). Effects of selective logging on breeding bird communities in Bottomland Hardwood forests in Louisiana. Journal of Wildlife Management, 70(5), 1416-1424.
This resource does not only provide important information on the wildlife and their contribution to the enhancement of the ecosystem but also the impacts of the natural disturbances. In particular, this resource provides an understanding of the ecosystem and the probable aspects that would lead to the development of a sustainable mutual dependence system and an ecological integrity. As a result, such would calm the ecological disturbance that comes from a state of imbalance.
Hollingshead, M., & Nguyen, E. (2008). Adventures in Tornado Alley: The storm chasers.London: Thames & Hudson.
Basically, this resource provides a one on one experience on the effects of the tornadoes on the ground through a report-like production on the tour of the affected regions.
Hopping, L. J. (1994). Tornadoes! New York: Scholastic.
This resource provides an understanding of the concept of Tornadoes with respect to how they are formed amidst prevailing weather conditions.
IAU Symposium, Schmieder, B., Malherbe, J.-M., & Wu, S. T. (2013). Nature of prominences and their role in space weather. Paper presented at the 300th Symposium of the International Astronomical Union. Paris, France.
The resource develops a perspective in which the international community perceives the roles of the different aspects of the weather besides developing an insight to the disaster mitigation plan as a collective responsibility.
Simmons, K.M., & Sutter, D. (2012). Deadly season: Analysis of the 2011 tornado outbreaks. Retrieved from http://books.google.co.ke/books?id=UbZJAAAAQBAJ&pg=PR4&dq=eadly+Season:+Analysis+of+the+2011+Tornado+Outbreaks,+by+Kevin+M.+Simmons+and+Daniel+Sutter,&hl=en&sa=X&ei=ugnSU4qHCcKg0QWN9YHYCg&redir_esc=y#v=onepage&q=eadly%20Season%3A%20Analysis%20of%20the%202011%20Tornado%20Outbreaks%2C%20by%20Kevin%20M.%20Simmons%20and%20Daniel%20Sutter%2C&f=false
Basically, this resource generates in-depth analysis of the whole incidence of the 2011 tornado super outbreak. In particular, it provides the chronological sequence of the tornado incidences over the stretch of regions affected such as Tennessee and Alabama among other. This resource is quite critical to this study as far as the understanding of the entire outbreak is concerned.
Knox, J. A. et al. (2013). Tornado debris characteristics and trajectories during the 27 April 2011 super outbreak as determined using social media data. Emmitsburg, MD: National Emergency Training Center.
In fact, this resource discuses the features attributable to the Tornadoes during the period of the 2011 super outbreak that faced Alabama in particular and Southern Eastern USA region in general. In particular, it focuses on the aspects unfolding during the incidence and the role played by media in propagating the disaster warning prompts.
Kukla, J. (2003). A wilderness so immense: The Louisiana purchase and the destiny of America. New York: A.A. Knopf.
In the light of this resource, the contextualized analysis of the natural disaster has been put forth. Basically, this resource focuses on the Louisiana region in particular and America in general as far as response to natural disasters is concerned.
Lafon, C. W. (2006). Forest disturbance by ice storms in Quercus forests of the southern Appalachian Mountains, USA. Ecoscience, 13(1), 30-43.
The resource puts into context the impact of bad weather patterns which has been critical to the insurgence of other disasters related to bad weather including storms and tornadoes. in particular, it focuses on the event unfolded at Quercus forests located to the south of Appalachian mountains.
Levine, M. (2007). F5: Devastation, survival, and the most violent tornado outbreak of thetwentieth century. New York: Miramax Books.
This resource describe some of the historical tornadoes that have been consistently hitting the United States in history besides contrasting it to the 2011 super outbreak that lasted for virtually 3 days.
McDonald, W., Neugebauer, J. M. (1992). All that matters: The Texas plains in photographs and poems. Lubbock, TX: Texas Tech University Press.
This resource provides a contextualized background on the terrains of the land which could have a pivotal role in redefining the source of such natural disasters as tornadoes.
McDuffie, D. (2009). Justice league of America: Second coming. New York: DC Comics. In particular, this source describes the social cultural aspects of the American population, an aspect that sheds light on the situation of 2011 tornado super outbreak.
Monmonier, M. S. (1998). Cartographies of danger: Mapping hazards in America. Chicago: University of Chicago Press.
This resource provides a base for understanding the tornado outbreaks by establishing diagrammatic analysis of the processes and features of the 2011 tornado super outbreak.
Prather, J. W., & Smith, K. G. (2003). Effects of tornado damage on forest bird population in the Arkansas Ozarks. Southwestern Naturalist, 48(2), 292-297.
This resource provides an understanding of of the destructive effects of the tornadoes on other organisms that makes up the ecosystem thus, introducing imbalances.
Raum, E. (2011). Surviving tornadoes. London: Raintree.
There are various means by which experts have proposed that could be essential in promoting the capacity to withstand tornadoes. this resources analyzes the various mechanism of addressing the tornado fatalities besides suggesting mitigation measures of the disaster.
Santos-Moreno, A., Briones-Salas, M., Gonzalez-Perez, G., Ortiz, T. (2003). Noteworthy records of two rare mammals in Sierra Norte de Oaxaca, Mexico. Southwestern Naturalist, 48(2), 312-313.
The resource gives an account of natural organisms that promotes contextual ecological balance by focusing on the southern eastern natural habitat a region with high vulnerability to tornadoes.
Spilsbury, R., & Spilsbury, L. (2009). Hurricanes and tornadoes in action. New York: Rosen Central.
This resource describes the actual impacts of the tornadoes and other related fatalities which have coincidentally impacted on people’s lifestyles through extensive damages on surface features including buildings, vehicles and power lines.
Spriggs, L. E., Cubbs, J., Hartigan, L. R., Crawley, S. M., & High Museum of Art. (2001). Let it shine: Self-taught art from the T. Marshall Hahn Collection. Atlanta: High Museum of Art.
This resource presents a collection of artifacts that helps in understanding the impacts of the tornadoes in a global scale among other natural disasters.
Svenvold, M. (2005). Big weather: Chasing tornadoes in the heart of America. New York:Henry Holt.
This resource provides a background upon which bad weather had impacted on the prevalence of tornadoes. Essentially, climate change has been long attributed to the cause of tornadoes.
Uriarte, M., & Papaik, M. (2007). Hurricane impacts on dynamics, structure and carbon sequestration potential of forest ecosystems in Southern New England, USA. Tellus 59A, 519-528.
This resource basically explains the impacts of the hurricanes on the changing patterns of weather and the causation of widespread damages on the surface structures and the carbon limit in a forest ecosystem.
Wolff, J. M. et al. (2009). Effects of tornado disturbance on bat communities in Southern Illinois. Northeastern Naturalist, 16, 553-562.
The resource provides a thorough discussion of the effects of the tornadoes particularly, on the ecosystems of the Sothern region of Illinois.
Wright, R. G. (1996). Tornado!: An event-based science module. Boston, MA: Addison-WesleyPub. Co.
This resource provides case analysis of the Tornado based on a science module. As a result, it creates an in-depth understanding of the Tornadoes on a scientific point of view as far as its occurrence and effects are concerned.