Researcher: Storm damage could triple by the end of the 21st century

Published: Apr. 29, 2022 at 10:56 PM CDT
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BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (WBRC) - We don’t have to tell you, but we’ve seen some pretty significant weather and damage so far this year. Odds are we’ll see a lot more of it in the coming years. Research shows the amount of damage could skyrocket over the next several decades.

Damage from tornadoes could triple by the end of the 21st century, according to research by Dr. Stephen Strader, a meteorologist and assistant professor at Villanova University. The financial toll could be a lot worse too.

“Take April 27th, 2011. What if that event occurred in 2100? The impacts could be three times as worse because of that growing urban footprint and changing atmosphere,” Dr. Strader said.

Strader says climate change is one factor, but the increase in the number homes, structures and developed land in tornado-prone areas like the southeast are to blame as well.

“In the regions where we get severe weather like tornadoes and that’s increasing the odds of disaster because there’s more things, people and things that we value to hit,” Strader said.

That’s why Strader says communities need to continue taking proactive steps like building storm shelters to combat the increased risk, especially in Alabama which is now known as “Dixie Alley.”

Practical steps like having a NOAA weather radio and keeping up with the forecast are essential now more than ever.

“Something as simple as making sure you have a fortified home standard garage door. And that will keep the wind from pushing in your garage door and lifting your roof. That’s $100-200 to get that installed. Maybe a little bit more and that could be the difference between your house being a complete loss and just losing a part of your roof,” Strader said.

Strader’s research also shows Alabama has more tornadoes at night. He tells us it’s essential you have a severe weather plan. Have multiple ways to receive alerts. One of the best tools is the First Alert Weather app. It’s like having a meteorologist in the palm of your hands.

You can read more of Dr. Straders research here:


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