In 2011, despite continued developments in forecasting,
tracking, and warning technology, the United States was hit by the
deadliest tornado season in decades. More than 1,200 tornadoes
touched down, shattering communities and their safety nets, and
killing more than 500 people--a death toll unmatched since
1953.Drawing on the unique analysis described in their first book,
"Economic and Societal Impacts of Tornadoes," economists Kevin M.
Simmons and Daniel Sutter here examine the factors that contributed
to the outcomes of such tornadoes as the mid-April outbreak that
devastated communities in North Carolina, the "Super Outbreak"
across the southern and eastern United States in late April, and
the single, mile-wide funnel that touched down in Joplin, Missouri,
in late May. In the course of their study the authors identify
patterns and anomalies, and reconsider previous assertions about
the effectiveness of the Doppler radar and storm warning systems.
Their conclusions, as well their assessment of early recovery
efforts, are aimed at helping community leaders and policy-makers
keep vulnerable populations safer in the future.
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