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2024 US Tornadoes

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The lack of a date-delineated “tornado season” has been evident in 2024, with over 450 tornadoes recorded in the first four months of the year. Some spun off of three winter storms – Ember, Finn and Gerri – which brought severe weather to much of the U.S. mainland. Unusually warm temperatures influenced others.

As of May 14, 2024, there have been 628 confirmed twisters this year, although many of the ratings are considered preliminary until published in the National Centers for Environmental Information (NCEI) database. NCEI is part of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA). These tornadoes included 51 EF-U, 194 EF-0, 291 EF-1, 70 EF-2, 1 6EF-3 and two EF-4 (four have been confirmed but are yet to be rated).

Recent tornadoes are not all confirmed at the time of publication, May 15.

This profile focuses on the most impactful tornadoes, especially for marginalized and at-risk populations. Tornadoes will be listed in the Impact section by month, with the most recent month first.

(Storm damage in Panama City Beach on Jan. 9, 2024. Photo credit: Bay County Sheriff’s Office via Facebook)

The National Weather Service (NWS) defines tornadoes as “a violently rotating column of air touching the ground, usually attached to the base of a thunderstorm.” Any thunderstorm can develop a tornado, but the most severe twisters are created inside supercell thunderstorms, defined by a rotating updraft. Tornadoes are measured using the Enhanced Fujita Scale, which assigns ratings from EF-0 to EF-5. The NWS determines what rating the tornado receives based on the amount of damage viewed on the ground. This helps investigators estimate the highest approximate wind speed that was sustained for at least a three-second gust. When there is no damage to a structure on the ground, tornadoes may be rated lower than they actually were.

CDP often uses preliminary NWS or NOAA/NCEI data because final numbers take significant time. NOAA says, “Historically, for every 100 preliminary tornado reports, at least 65 tornadoes are confirmed.”

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Key facts
  • So far this year, NOAA’s Storm Prediction Center reported 45 tornadoes in January 2024, slightly above the monthly average of 39.4 tornadoes. Both February and March saw lower-than-average counts of tornadoes at 52 and 66, respectively. According to NBC News, April 2024 was the second most active month in the history of the U.S. and only outdone by April 2011.
  • From April 27 to May 8, there were more than 600 tornado warnings. From April 25 to May 10, more than 265 tornadoes were confirmed, making it the eighth most active 16-day tornado count.
  • Of the seven billion-dollar disasters that have been confirmed this year as of May 14, 2024, four are attributable to tornado outbreaks.
  • As of May 12, 2024, 15confirmed tornado-related deaths from tornadoes have occurred in 2024. Of these deaths, five were in Oklahoma, three in Ohio and one death each in Alabama, Iowa, Indiana, Kansas, North Carolina, Tennessee and Texas. Nine of these deaths occurred in a manufactured home, two inside a traditionally built home, one inside a building, one in a vehicle and two locations are unknown. Other deaths may be under investigation.
  • The United States has not experienced an EF-5 twister since the Moore Tornado in 2013. While most tornadoes (90%) are rated EF-0 or EF-1, they can still damage homes and cause severe damage to mobile homes and manufactured housing. Since 1880, the percentage of fatalities during daytime tornadoes has decreased by 20%, while the percentage of deaths during nighttime tornadoes has increased by the same amount. Nighttime tornadoes kill twice as many people as daytime tornadoes annually.
  • During a typical El Niño season (which we are in right now), the risk to the traditional tornado alley – through the central Plains and lower Midwestern states – switches to Florida, Texas and the West Coast.
May 2024

The National Weather Service has not fully analyzed all the tornadoes in May, and NOAA/NCEI have not released their preliminary data. Early predictions estimate that there have been close to 150 tornadoes this month, as of May 12.

Twisters have been reported in almost half the states in the country from Texas to Wisconsin and from Pennsylvania to South Dakota.

May 6 to 10

Multiple tornadoes spawned from violent storms across the U.S., resulting in casualties and injuries. There were 1,400 severe weather reports and 125 tornado reports across 22 states from May 6 to May 10.

At least five were confirmed dead, including two in Tennessee due to an EF-3 tornado, and one in North Carolina.

Two people were also killed after the country’s second EF-4 tornado of 2024 hit Barnsdall, Oklahoma, on May 6. Approximately 30 to 40 homes were damaged or destroyed. This is the second tornado in five weeks to hit the town of just over 1,000 people located in Osage County. An EF-1 tornado hit the community on April 1. On the ground for nearly an hour and traveling almost 40 miles, the tornado continued into nearby Bartlesville. In both communities, homes and businesses were damaged and destroyed.

The twister is one of several that touched down in Kansas and Oklahoma on May 6 after the National Weather Service issued a high-risk warning for the two states. This is the first time since March 31, 2023, that NWS’ Storm Prediction Center issued a warning that extreme.

Four tornadoes were confirmed in Southwest Michigan on May 7, including two EF-1 and two EF-2s. Rated as an EF-2 twister, the Portage tornado damaged two mobile home parks, several apartment buildings and tore a hole through the middle of a new FedEx building. These were the first tornado emergencies to ever be issued in the state.

Two EF-3 tornadoes touched down in Alabama on May 8. Neither one lasted very long or traveled very far, but due to the intensity of the winds both caused severe damage to homes, businesses and trees. Seven people were injured after the tornado struck homes, mobile homes and campers.

At least six tornadoes touched down in Tennessee on May 8 and 9, including a large and lengthy EF-3 in Maury County. The twister was on the ground for nearly 30 minutes at a width of 900 yards and traveled almost 13 miles. It destroyed a couple of homes, took off several roofs and felled hundreds of trees.

At least three tornadoes struck Florida’s capital city including two that converged at the Capital City Country Club, leading to the worst damage in Tallahassee since Hurricane Kate in 2021. Over 45 minutes, the two EF-2 and the one EF-1 tornadoes spun across the city traveling between 20 and 32 miles each. One woman died after a tree fell on her house during the storms. Governor DeSantis expanded a state of emergency to include 15 counties, as more severe weather approached.

May 1 to May 4

Tornadoes on the last day of April spread into May, with the first week of May seeing several systems in Texas and a rare Puerto Rico tornado.

A slow-moving, short-lived, but strong EF-3 tornado near Hawley, Texas damaged a few homes on May 2. This was one of more than 20 tornadoes spotted in Texas in the first few days of the month. There was a huge EF-1 near Robert Lee, and other systems brought massive amounts of rain that led to flooding, including in Harris County where water reached near Hurricane Harvey levels.

April 2024

There were more than 300 tornadoes in April, including at least 27 EFUs, 84 EF-0s, 161 EF-1s, 35 EF-2s, nine EF-3s and one EF-4. At least 11 tornado-related fatalities were recorded, with fatalities spread across several of the outbreaks.

NOAA/NCEI said “During April, there were 384 preliminary tornado reports. This was more than double the 1991-2020 average of 182.4 tornadoes for the month of April, the second highest April count on record, and the most tornadoes reported since April 2011. This is also more than double the 3-year tornado average during the month of April for the years 2021-2023. The preliminary tornado count for the January-April year-to-date period was 547, which is similar to the total from the last couple of years and above the 1991-2020 average of 337.9 tornadoes. It was also the third highest count for this period on record.”

Two of April’s tornado outbreaks produced billion-dollar disasters: April 1-3 at $1.8 billion and April 8-11 at $1.5 billion. The worst tornado outbreak of the year, with more than 100 tornadoes, occurred between April 25 and April 28 in the Midwest and Great Plains. Almost fifty tornado warnings were issued by the National Weather Service in Omaha, on April 26 —  the most tornado warnings ever issued by the office in one single day. The late April outbreak has not had a final cost assessment or a billion-dollar disaster classification determination.

States affected include Arkansas, Iowa, Kansas, Louisiana, Mississippi, Missouri, Nebraska, Oklahoma, Puerto Rico and Texas. Alaska experienced its fifth-ever tornado on April 19; the first since 2005.

April 30

One person was killed in a mobile home and three people were injured after an EF-3 tornado hit the town of Westmoreland in northeast Kansas on April 30. On the ground for just 8 minutes, the twister with winds of 140 mph traveled through the city with a population of about 700 residents and significantly damaged homes along its 2.58-mile path.

According to Becky Ryan, spokesperson for Pottawatomie County, 22 homes and five outbuildings were destroyed, and 13 other homes and one business were damaged. Additionally, the twister struck an RV park, damaging at least six trailers.

April 26–27

Multiple storm systems moved through the Midwest and Central Plains between April 26 and 28, spawning at least 16 EF-2, eight EF-3 and one EF-4 tornadoes. These twisters resulted in at least five fatalities, four of which occurred in Oklahoma, where President Biden approved a major disaster declaration on May 1. This was the first federal disaster declaration since FEMA implemented its new Individual Assistance guidelines. Other declarations were issued later for earlier storms.

Governor Kevin Stitt of Oklahoma issued a state of emergency for 12 counties after the state department reported around 300 injuries, and some of the hardest-hit towns, Holdenville, Marietta and Sulphur, showed flattened homes and overturned vehicles.

Multiple businesses were damaged or destroyed, including a Dollar Tree distribution center and a Dollar General, which are major sources of household supplies, including groceries. The loss of the distribution center, which serves many smaller towns, could be significant.

The NWS found that an EF-3 in Sulphur reached 160 to 165 mph wind speeds and destroyed nearly every business on West Muskogee Avenue.

The first EF-4 of 2024 occurred in Love, Carter and Johnston Counties of Oklahoma on April 27. The amount of damage and impact in Marietta, specifically the destruction of the Dollar Tree distribution center, led the NWS to upgrade the level to an EF-4. This is also the state’s first EF-4 tornado since 2016.

According to Native News Online, tornadoes also touched down on the Mvskoke Creek Nation (MCN) Reservation, close to the Morris and Holdenville areas. No tribal facilities were damaged, but MCN Principal Chief, David Hill, signed an executive order declaring a state of emergency due to the storms. The declaration will engage emergency response plans and ensure coordination with federal partners for relief and recovery efforts.

In Nebraska, two supercells produced five tornadoes across the southern region. An EF-3 tornado hit Howard County, gaining significant strength when it entered the town of Elba, damaging homes, outbuildings and farmsteads. An airfield with four hangar buildings, which housed 32 private planes, was destroyed. Nebraska Governor Jim Pillen announced at least 450 homes were “totally destroyed” in Omaha following the twisters. FEMA declared a major disaster declaration for Nebraska’s tornadoes [DR-4778] for two counties with both eligible for IA and PA categories A and B.

According to preliminary reports from the NWS, at least 24 tornadoes struck west and central Iowa. Six EF-2 and four EF-3 twisters were recorded in the state, leading Governor Kim Reynolds to declare a disaster emergency for Pottawattamie County, which saw 40 to 50 homes completely destroyed and four reports of injuries.

Two EF-3 tornadoes crossed over from Omaha, Nebraska, into Iowa. One of them reached peak wind speeds of 165 mph, traveled for over 31 miles and, at its widest, was nearly one mile. The second traveled nearly 41 miles, ran through the town of Minden, and killed one person and injured three. The rapidly intensifying twister destroyed trees and outbuildings, barns and homes. In a town of 600 people, the tornado damaged 120 homes.

April 16, 2024

On April 16, severe storms moved into the Midwest and spawned twisters in Iowa and Kansas, hurting several people. This included an EF-2 tornado that made landfall in Greenwood County. At least 15 tornadoes touched down across Iowa on April 16, including a 900-feet wide long-track EF-2 tornado that ran for more than 42 miles, with peak wind speeds of 130 mph. It is the longest tornado path in the area since almost exactly a decade ago, April 27, 2014.

April 10, 2024

NWS New Orleans determined at least 12 tornadoes hit Louisiana and Mississippi as part of the same storm system, which left at least one dead due to a fallen tree and power line. This is the only storm-related accidental death confirmed as of April 22.

A high-end EF-1 twister, known as the Labarre-Spillman, ran for over 32 miles from Louisiana until it dissipated in Mississippi. While it moved over mostly rural land, it left widespread tree damage and downed wooden electrical transmission poles. Fallen trees on roads and highways impeded ground surveys on parts of the track. It is likely to be upgraded to an EF-2 after survey teams assess damages.

Initially an EF-1, a 120 mph twister near Slidell left bent metal beams and roofs blown off. It was later upgraded to an EF-2 after survey teams assessed for damages to businesses, apartment buildings, trees and homes. Multiple injuries were reported but the total number is currently unknown.

A short-lived 115 mph EF-2 tornado touched down near McNeese State University before moving southeast. The twister destroyed roofs and caused widespread tree and electrical damages before weakening and dissipating after tracking for 1.06 miles.

April 2, 2024

A powerful line of storms passed through the Midwest and into much of the Central and Southeast U.S., causing severe thunderstorms, hail and tornadoes on April 2.

In the late hours of April 2, an EF-2 twister with winds at 115 mph touched down in Rockdale County, Georgia. Officials found downed trees and power lines and damaged homes, vehicles and businesses.

At least nine tornadoes touched down in Kentucky and southern Indiana, prompting Governor Andy Beshear of Kentucky to declare a state of emergency on April 3. While initially rated at EF-1, one of the twisters was upgraded to an EF-2 after a survey of damages in Jeffersonville, Indiana and Prospect, Kentucky.

Ten people were reported to have minor injuries. Crews will continue assessing damages, but initial images and videos show debris on roads, trees down and damaged homes.

Kentucky also saw a short-lived EF-2 tornado in Boyd County, which caused significant tree and home damage. Several barns and buildings were destroyed and further assessments were limited due to access issues. A death was reported after a car accident during the intense storms.

The NWS Louisville says despite issuing warning sirens, many drivers and motorists continued to drive through the storm.

Four low-grade tornadoes were confirmed to have touched down across Ohio during storms and severe weather. While the tornadoes were EF-1 and under, the storm brought heavy rain, resulting in 44 flood reports and the Ohio River swell well above flood levels. The impact of the flooded Ohio River was felt in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, where homeless encampments were wiped out.

Ohio saw a record number of tornadoes within the first three months of 2024, with 22 twisters as of April 2. The previous record was 12 tornadoes in 1986.

In West Virginia, preliminary findings by NWS Charleston indicated an EF-2 tornado with winds up to 130 mph in Fayette County. As of April 4, further assessments are still ongoing. The strong storms left debris on the streets, damaged buildings and nearly 140,000 customers without power, prompting Governor Jim Justice to declare a state of emergency.

March 2024

NOAA/NCEI confirmed 66 tornadoes in March, which is below the 30-year average of 80.1 events for the month. Half of the days in the month had no tornadoes, and this is the lowest amount for the month since March 2018. NOAA/NCEI also said that “March 2024 was the 17th-warmest March on record for the nation and precipitation ranked in the wettest third of the historical record for the month.”

A tornado system from March 13 to March 15 is one of the billion-dollar disasters in 2024 at a cost of $4.4 billion. The states affected by tornadoes included Georgia, Illinois, Indiana, Kansas, Kentucky, Missouri, Oklahoma and Ohio. A storm system from March 13 to 15 is one of the billion-dollar disasters declared this year. It is currently estimated at $4.4 billion in damage.

March 14-15, 2024

In mid-March, the country was hit by several storm systems producing more than 40 tornado reports with at least two EF-3 tornadoes and several EF-2s confirmed.

At least two tornadoes struck parts of northeast Kansas on the evening of March 13, damaging homes and outbuildings.

Strong thunderstorms, including tornadoes, moved through eastern Indiana and western Ohio on the evening of March 14, causing significant damage and knocking out power for thousands.

NWS confirmed nine tornadoes struck Ohio, Including two EF-3 twisters.

An EF-3 tornado hit the community of Indian Lake, Ohio, traveling 31.2 miles for 47 minutes. Three deaths and 27 injuries were confirmed in Logan County. Packing wind speeds of 155 mph, the tornado struck a manufactured home community near Indian Lake, where most of the fatalities occurred.

Lakeview, a village in Logan County that sits on Indian Lake, saw significant damage. Columbus Dispatch Photographer Doral Chenoweth said, “Every building in Lakeview and every building here has some form of damage.”

The tornado from Indiana entered Ohio as an EF-1, but reached EF-3 intensity after crossing into Miami County. everal homes, properties and outbuildings were severely damaged, with debris scattering into adjacent fields.

On March 17, following confirmed reports on the number of casualties and damages, Ohio Governor Mike DeWine declared a state of emergency for 11 counties to allow additional aid for response and recovery efforts. FEMA also declared a major disaster declaration for Ohio’s tornadoes on Mar. 14 [DR-4777] for the 11 counties.

The storms reportedly also damaged a manufactured home park and other properties in Randolph County, Indiana.

In Kentucky, a damaging EF-2 twister crossed state lines multiple times, moving parallel to the Ohio River and through campgrounds and parks hosting RV trailers, large campers and mobile homes. Structural damage was seen on homes, while large campers and mobile homes were demolished

According to Shannon meteorologists, this deadly Midwest outbreak may be due to the past winter’s record-level warmth. Northern Illinois University professor Victor Gensini says, “To get severe storms this far north this time of year, it’s got to be warm.”

March 9, 2024

About 15 people were displaced, and 500 were left without any electricity after an EF-2 tornado hit Brantley County, Georgia. Despite being on the ground for less than 10 minutes, the twister packed winds at 130 mph and damaged several mobile homes. At least one mobile home was flattened, and five people were reportedly injured.

Manufactured homes are especially vulnerable to tornadoes and other hazards and are overlooked during preparation, planning and recovery efforts.

February 2024

NOAA’s Storm Prediction Center reported 52 preliminary tornadoes during February, below the 1991-2020 average of 75 tornadoes for the month. States affected include California, Florida, Georgia, Illinois, Indiana, Kentucky, Michigan, Ohio and Wisconsin. The month was unseasonably warm and dry.

Feb. 27-28, 2024:

More than two dozen confirmed tornadoes hit the Great Lake states, including the suburbs of Chicago, leaving behind a trail of damage, debris and power outages.

According to NWS, “This was only the fourth time on record that tornadoes were observed in the NWS Chicago forecast area in February (1 tornado occurred on 2/16/2006, 7 tornadoes occurred on 2/28/2017, and 3 tornadoes occurred just last year on 2/27/2023).”

A rare set of 11 tornadoes struck northwest Illinois, including 10 in the Chicago region on Feb. 27, ranging from EF-0 to EF-1, affecting 11.1 million people. The storms led to damaged buildings and roofs, uprooted trees and downed power lines.

Thunderstorms swept through Michigan before two tornadoes were reported in the early hours of Feb. 28. An EF-2 in Grand Blanc Township near Flint reached peak winds of 115 winds and traveled for nearly six miles in a span of 10 minutes. This was the second-ever tornado in southeast Michigan in February since 1974.

Similarly, central Ohio experienced nine confirmed tornadoes – three EF-0, three EF-1 and three EF-2. This is the highest number of February tornadoes in Ohio, breaking the total of five twisters set in 1950 and matched in 2023. Additionally, “The EF2 tornado in southeastern Franklin County was the strongest recorded in February since Feb. 22, 1971. The path length of the EF2 storms are also the longest measured in February in Ohio records since 1950.”

Feb. 7-10, 2024

On Feb. 7, two EF-1 tornadoes touched down along San Luis Obispo County’s coast in California. Officials say these are the first tornadoes to hit the county since 2004 and the strongest since 1950.

Similarly, Wisconsin experienced its first recorded tornadoes in February since 1950, according to the NWS, following an unusually warm winter. The storms were classified as two high-end EF-1 tornadoes and one EF-2. Tornadoes are most common in Wisconsin between May and August when temperatures are warmer.

Feb. 4, 2024

On Feb. 4, Florida saw several EF-0 and EF-1 tornadoes that left 20-30 homes and many trees damaged in Jefferson and Thomas counties. Around the same time, southern Georgia experienced a rare EF-2 February tornado just 10 miles north of Florida, which left debris scattered along streets after it destroyed a mobile home. This only the fourth time since 2010 that an EF-2 tornado touched ground in Georgia in February.

January 2024

According to NOAA/NCEI, 39 of the month’s 45 tornadoes (or 86%) were confirmed in the January 8-9 outbreak. One of the January outbreaks was the first billion-dollar disaster of the year with approximate damage of $2.7 billion. The tornadoes included several EF-Us, 13 EF-0s, 15 EF-1s, six EF-2s and one EF-3. States affected include Alabama, Florida, Georgia, Louisiana, Mississippi, North Carolina, South Carolina and Texas.

Jan. 8-9, 2024

Most of the two-day outbreak’s tornadoes occurred on Jan. 9, beginning in Santa Rosa County, Florida, with an EF-1, followed shortly after by eight more EF-1 or EF-0 tornadoes in Alabama, Florida and Mississippi.

The biggest tornado of the day was an EF-3 in Bay County, Florida. It began in the Lower Grand Lagoon area and traveled into Panama City Beach and onto Panama City, which Hurricane Michael damaged significantly in 2018.

Although only on the ground for six minutes, the twister saw gusts of 140 mph and covered more than five miles. Several homes were damaged significantly as were two apartment buildings and a boat storage facility.

This is the first EF-3 tornado to hit Florida in the month of January. There have only been 49 EF-3 or stronger tornadoes in Florida. The tornado’s 136-165 mph wind speeds are equivalent to a major hurricane.

All six of the EF–2 tornadoes during this outbreak caused damage to mobile or manufactured homes; many single-family homes were also damaged.

A EF-2 twister outside of Simsville in Jackson County, Florida, injured seven people, all in an RV park. The town of Marianna, severely damaged during Hurricane Michael in 2018, was badly hit. A marina and a condo apartment building were both badly damaged.

One twister began in Florida near Chipley and ended in Cottonwood, Alabama. Several mobile homes and a few single-family homes were damaged or destroyed, as well as outbuildings, silos, small businesses and government buildings. An 81-year-old woman was killed when her mobile home flipped several times.

The final EF-2 tornado of the day was recorded in and around Bamberg, South Carolina. It was only on the ground for two minutes but did considerable damage. In downtown Bamberg, the tornado damaged several two- and three-story historic buildings.

An EF-1 tornado, with peak winds of 110 mph, led to one death, four injuries and 30 people displaced in a mobile home park in Claremont, North Carolina.

Jan. 5, 2024

The first tornado of the year occurred on Jan. 5, at 6 a.m. central near Galveston, Texas. The NWS Houston office rated it as an EF-0 event.

While there are many immediate needs in the wake of tornadoes, such as temporary housing, childcare, automobile replacement, etc., funders must also consider holding back funds in anticipation of the intermediate and long-term needs of the affected communities.

Immediate needs

Immediate needs include tarping, cleaning and temporary repair of damaged homes and businesses. This includes debris clean-up, which is significant because of the amount of damage and felling of trees. There will be a need to replace vehicles, personal belongings, appliances and furniture lost in the tornadoes.

Power outages cause concerns for feeding and heating. Many deaths after events such as these are attributable to improper use of propane for heating or cooking.

Long-term repair and rebuilding of housing and businesses requires additional funding beyond the initial infusion of funds to address life safety issues. Community members with the resources to recover independently will do so. In contrast, without an additional injection of assistance, at-risk community members may not be able to recover.

Rural communities

As tornado alley shifts and storms move closer toward the southeast, more urban areas will be affected. At the same time, many tornadoes also impact rural communities that will not garner the same attention as more urban areas.

For example, the City of Selma was hard hit by the tornadoes in mid-January 2023 and received the most media attention, but smaller communities in the Black Belt were also affected. The March 2023, Mississippi tornadoes hit extremely small towns without the resources to support those affected.

Recovery in rural communities is slower and requires “patient dollars.” Funders must understand that progress will not occur as quickly as it does in larger, more well-resourced communities. Investments should be made over time: pledges of multi-year funding are very helpful, as is support for operating costs and capacity building.

Funders would, however, be wise to remember that while many rural communities do not have access to the same level of financial assistance as some urban areas, the social fabric and human capital available in more rural communities can be a powerful force multiplier.

Housing

People whose homes were damaged will need support securing new housing that is safe and affordable and/or repairing their damaged homes. After a tornado, displaced residents may face challenges finding housing that meets their needs. Tornadoes affect people from all walks of life, some with insurance and others without. The destruction of manufactured homes (often called mobile homes) will also affect affordable housing availability in communities.

Depending upon the location of housing, the homeowner may not own the land, only the building. Additionally, insurance is limited on manufactured housing, especially based on the age of the building.

Although manufactured housing can be physically vulnerable to tornadoes, more than 22 million people in the United States live in mobile and manufactured homes, which represents an important affordable and accessible housing option for many communities.

Manufactured and mobile home residents have higher exposure to natural hazards, such as wind and tornadoes, hurricanes, extreme heat, wildfires, and flooding, compared to those who live in other types of housing. Mobile homes are also often overlooked in hazard planning and disaster recovery efforts.

Balancing safety with the benefits of manufactured homes can be a challenge. Understanding the importance and role of mobile homes and how needs can be addressed equitably for residents of these homes is paramount for successful, equitable recovery.

The Manufactured Home Disaster Recovery Playbook was created by Matthew 25 in 2023 for the Center for Disaster Philanthropy. The Playbook has videos, lessons learned and other information to assist funders in supporting manufactured home disaster recovery. On Oct. 12, 2022, CDP also hosted a webinar about the increased risks manufactured homes face and their role in disaster recovery.

In many parts of the country, demand for housing outpaces supply, complicating recovery efforts. Affected people living in rural areas or public housing and people from marginalized groups will require assistance identifying and securing housing. The ability to rebuild in rural communities is also challenging due to reduced economies of scale and the cost of transporting goods.

Disasters and climate crises hit the most marginalized and vulnerable first and hardest, such as the 582,000 people experiencing homelessness across the U.S. Temporary housing assistance is vital for homeless populations whose encampments and shelters may be damaged or destroyed.

Unfortunately, advocates and experts have seen many already homeless people get pushed to the back of a long line for resources during disasters and in competition with individuals who may not necessarily be homeless but require shelter.

Regardless, in the short term, local shelters can provide temporary relief during disasters and offer clothing, water and other essential services. Some shelters, such as the Second Avenue Commons in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, have centers where items can be temporarily stored and damaged goods, such as tarps, water bottles and food supplies for dogs, replaced.

Looking forward, long-term solutions such as affordable housing and employment opportunities require more significant planning and investment.

Cash assistance

A critical ongoing need will be unrestricted cash donations to support affected individuals and families. Direct cash assistance can allow families to secure housing, purchase items and contract services locally that address their multiple needs. It gives each family flexibility and choice, ensuring that support is relevant, cost-effective and timely. Cash assistance can also help move families faster toward rebuilding their lives.

In addition to supporting families, cash provides a much-needed jolt to local economies, which can also be a major boon to recovery.

Education

After a tornado with significant damage, schools may be closed for a few weeks to help with recovery, while remote learning may not be possible. Unfortunately, this comes at a time when students need the social support of their friends and teachers, especially as their families may be busy with their recovery activities.

Child care and child support programs are particularly helpful during this time and can reduce the need for child trauma counseling in later months.

Health care

There are often immediate health needs after tornadoes related to injuries that arise as people are hit by falling debris. Additionally, tornadoes often damage health centers and hospitals, or medical staff are impacted, reducing overall access to services.

Roads may be blocked by debris or flooding, making access to health care challenging, especially in rural communities.

Emotional and spiritual care

Emotional and spiritual care will be critical, especially for families of people killed in the storms, first responders and those in the tornadoes’ direct paths. Long-term mental health and trauma support will also be required. Some of the affected communities were impacted by previous events, which has left them with increased trauma from natural hazards.

There is also severe risk of poor emotional health, suicide or self-harming behaviors among farmers and ranchers after disasters.

The Farm and Ranch Stress Assistance Network is designed to build “a network that connects individuals who are engaged in farming, ranching, and other agriculture-related occupations to stress assistance programs. The establishment of a network that assists farmers and ranchers in times of stress can offer a conduit to improving behavioral health awareness, literacy, and outcomes for agricultural producers, workers and their families.” They provide grants to help with this.

Business recovery

Business recovery is always critical to helping communities rebuild. When tornadoes damage or destroy businesses, it negatively impacts people’s livelihoods. Given the higher costs of living and ongoing recovery from COVID, this is particularly challenging for small businesses.

Navigating the disaster assistance process

Disaster assistance may be available in various forms and from different sources. People will need help navigating the assistance process, particularly undocumented people and people whose first language is not English.

In most situations, disaster recovery navigation services – also called disaster case management – can be a valuable and hugely impactful resource in expediting the recovery process, especially if governmental disaster assistance is available. Government assistance is vital but can also be cumbersome and confusing for households and communities.

For example, Small Business Administration (SBA) disaster loans are part of the federal assistance package for FEMA’s Individual and Households Program (IHP). Many people may not understand that the loans, though they originate from the SBA, can be made to individuals/families. Disaster case managers can provide essential support and guidance in accessing resources and navigating the road to recovery.

A recently released study from the U.S. Commission on Human Rights found that FEMA did not equitably serve at-risk populations, including people with disabilities, people living in poverty and English as a second language speakers, during Hurricanes Harvey or Maria in 2017.

The Center for Disaster Philanthropy (CDP) will continue to monitor the impact of tornadoes and the needs that may arise.

To support tornado recovery efforts, please donate to CDP’s Tornado Recovery Fund.

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Contact CDP

Philanthropic contributions

If you have questions about donating to the CDP Tornado Recovery Fund, need help with your disaster-giving strategy or want to share how you’re responding to this disaster, please contact development.

(Tornado damage in Bamberg, South Carolina on Jan. 9, 2024. Credit: Justin Bamberg via X)

Recovery updates

If you are a responding NGO, please send updates on how you are working on recovery from this disaster to Tanya Gulliver-Garcia.

We welcome the republication of our content. Please credit the Center for Disaster Philanthropy.

Philanthropic and government support

As a result of the damages in Iowa on April 16, Governor Kim Reynolds issued a disaster proclamation for six counties impacted by the tornadoes. Residents are eligible to receive up to $5,000 through the Individual Assistance Grant Program and may also utilize the Disaster Case Advocacy Program to craft a disaster recovery plan.

The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) made a major disaster assistance declaration for the severe storms, straight-line winds and tornadoes in Oklahoma [DR-4776] that started on April 15. One county was only approved for individual assistance (IA), and four were approved for IA and public assistance (PA) categories A and B (debris removal and emergency protective measures). As of May 14, 276 applications had been approved for just under $1.7 million issued in assistance.

FEMA also declared a major disaster declaration for:

  • Ohio’s March 14 tornadoes [DR-4777] for 11 counties. As of May 14, 117 applications had been approved for just under $1.4 million in assistance.
  • Nebraska’s severe storms, straight-line winds and tornadoes on April 25-27 [DR-4778] for two counties with both eligible for IA and PA categories A and B. As of May 14, 22 applications had been approved for just under $225,000 in assistance.
  • Iowa’s tornadoes of April 26-27 [DR-4779] were approved on May 14 for Individual Assistance in eight counties.

These mark the first four disaster declarations since FEMA updated and rolled out its new Individual Assistance program, which applies to disasters declared on or after March 22, 2024.

With a $180,000 grant from CDP’s Midwest Early Recovery Fund and the Tornado Recovery Fund, the Arkansas Community Foundation is supporting disaster case management and childcare provider needs in response to the 2023 Arkansas tornadoes.

Disaster Services Corporation – Society of St. Vincent de Paul received $134,766.03 from CDP to continue long-term disaster case management efforts in Rolling Fork, Mississippi and surrounding communities affected by tornadoes in 2023.

Recovering Oklahomans After Disaster (ROAD) is utilizing $150,000 from CDP’s Tornado Recovery Fund and the Midwest Early Recovery Fund to support staffing capacity for home repair work after multiple severe storms and tornadoes throughout Oklahoma in 2023.

Resources

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Tornadoes

Tornadoes

The National Weather Service defines tornadoes as “a violently rotating column of air touching the ground, usually attached to the base of a thunderstorm.” The U.S. is home to more tornadoes than any other country in the world, with approximately 900 to 1,700 tornadoes occurring a year throughout the country.

Rural Populations

Rural Populations

Rural populations often struggle with disaster response and recovery. Explore why.

Long-Term Recovery Groups

Long-Term Recovery Groups

A long-term recovery group is a cooperative body that is made up of representatives from faith-based, nonprofit, government, business and other organizations working within a community to assist individuals and families as they recover from disaster.