Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Nighttime Severe Weather

Severe weather at night is never a good thing.  People are asleep and often don’t have a way to be alerted to warnings.

Unfortunately, severe weather often finds a way of happening at night in southeast Missouri, southern Illinois, western Kentucky and southwest Indiana.  Northern Illinois University has published findings from research of night time severe weather.
  • The public is less likely to receive warnings issued at night.
  • The public is more likely to be in more vulnerable housing and building structures at night.
  • Mobile homes are the leading location for tornado fatalities.
  • Tornado deaths are enhanced during the late fall and winter.
  • Nighttime tornadoes are twice as likely to kill as daytime tornadoes.

The region I mentioned earlier has among the highest percentage of nighttime tornadoes and nighttime tornado fatalities of anywhere in the United States.

According to the National Weather Service in Paducah, 43 of the 52 tornado deaths since 1996 have occurred at night.  Of those, 69% occurred between midnight and sunrise.  Thirty-seven of the 52 tornado deaths were in mobile homes.  Eleven occurred in permanent homes.

We say this not to scare you, however we do want you to take note that nighttime severe weather can be dangerous and we want you to keep alert to changing weather.

I think the most important take-away from the finding by NIU is that nighttime tornadoes are twice as likely to kill as daytime tornadoes.

A special thanks to Rick Shanklin at the National Weather Service office in Paducah, Kentucky for publishing the findings.

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