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Tornado Damage Risk Assessment

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The series of tornadoes which struck the Oklahoma City area on May 3, 1999 were some of the most expensive tornadoes in U.S. history, causing over 1 billion dollars in damage and destroying over 2500 structures. With such a large impact, other urban areas in tornado alley were forced to wonder about their own susceptibility and preparation. The Dallas-Fort Worth Metroplex is one such area. With over five million people, 1 million houses, and 60 thousand commercial structures, understanding the potential risks is valuable, indeed.

As part of the Spring 2000 severe weather planning season, The North Central Texas Council of Governments in cooperation with the National Weather Service in Fort Worth put together a Tornado Damage Risk Assessment. The project estimates the potential impact of a major tornado outbreak to the Dallas-Fort Worth Metroplex. Specifically, tornado damage paths from the May 3, 1999 Great Plains Tornado outbreak in Oklahoma are transposed across the Metroplex and a statistical profile of each impacted area is generated.

Five main scenarios are tested in which 53 of the damage paths are placed atop Metroplex geographical data, and centered as a group in five different locations. Additionally, 50 paths of the Moore tornado -- the costliest tornado in U.S. history to date -- are tested. Modern computer technology (GIS) is used to estimate structures, property, residents, employees, and traffic that would be in the path -- better defining the magnitude that the tasks of warning, rescue, and recovery would entail. By identifying such demographics and development, a general assessment of this region's susceptibility to a big tornado outbreak can be made.


Other Helpful Information:

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For more information, contact Scott Rae

 North Central Texas Council of Governments | 616 Six Flags Drive P.O. Box 5888 Arlington, TX 76005-5888
 Main Operator: (817) 640-3300 | Fax: (817) 640-7806