E-Journal of Severe Storms Meteorology

E-Journal of Severe Storms Meteorology, Vol 8, No 7 (2013)

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Adjusted Tornado Probabilities

Holly M Widen, James B Elsner, Rizalino B Cruz, Guang Xing, Erik Fraza, Loury Migliorelli, Sarah Strazzo, Cameron Amrine, Brendan Mulholland, Michael Patterson, Laura Michaels


Tornado occurrence rates computed from the available reports are biased low relative to the unknown true rates.  To correct for this low bias, the authors demonstrate a method to estimate the annual probability of being struck by a tornado that uses the average report density estimated as a function of distance from nearest city/town center. The method is demonstrated on Kansas and then applied to 15 other tornado-prone states from Nebraska to Tennessee. States are ranked according to their adjusted tornado rate and comparisons are made with raw rates published elsewhere. The adjusted rates, expressed as return periods, are

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E-Journal of Severe Storms Meteorology | ISSN 1559-5404 | Some Rights Reserved