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Tornadoes and mobile homes: The geographic data of a stereotype

Andrew B. Shears, MS, Robert M. Schwartz, PhD


A stereotype that many in the United States share is the idea of a strong spatial relationship between mobile homes and tornadic activity. Although the origins of this stereotype are unknown, many possibilities may exist including a bias in media coverage or the fact that mobile homes are susceptible to weaker tornadoes that occur more frequently. Residents of mobile homes are usually less affluent than those of frame-built homes and have fewer resources to cope with the destruction of their homes. Despite the knowledge that these homes are more susceptible and the heightened socioeconomic risk, the residents of these homes face little in terms of spatial coincidence between mobile homes and tornadoes has been studied. Tornado occurrences in the southeastern United States between 1970 and 2000 were spatially compared with the locations of mobile homes in 2000 to determine if mobile homes were located in areas climatologically prone to tornadic activity.


hazards, tornadoes, mobile homes, Southeastern United States, vulnerability, risk

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