How Vulnerable Is Your County To Tornadoes?

Chris Sommer
June 26, 2019 - 6:50 am
Tornado Vulnerability Index

Credit: Ethan Rogers

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DALLAS (1080 KRLD) - A meteorology student at Penn State University is getting national attention for a class project he knocked out over Spring Break.

Using data from the Census Bureau and the National Weather Service, Ethan Rogers put together his own Tornado Vulnerability Index.  It details the risk for every county in the U.S.

Not only does Rogers' map factor in weather-related data, it also includes socioeconomic data.  He said, "I weighted tornado vulnerability with tornado frequency and intensity, the number of people below the poverty line, the population density of every county and the amount of mobile homes in every single county, as well."

It won't come as a surprise that parts of Tornado Alley landed in the bullseye on Rogers' map.  He said, "Areas in the southeast especially and Southern Plains, including Texas, are definitely at a great risk for tornado damage and loss of life because of these socioeconomic factors."

Based on Rogers' overall data, Dallas, Tarrant, Parker and Johnson are the local counties most vulnerable to tornadoes.

Rogers said some local officials across the nation are sharing his index and considering adopting it as part of their disaster preparation plans.  "I really do hope that with this amount of exposure, people do get their hands on it and send it to their local governments or emergency managers.  I do want it to save a lot of lives," he said.

Rogers is a junior at Penn State.  He is scheduled to graduate in 2021.​