MN Expert: Why The Southern Tornadoes Were So Deadly

By Steve Murphy, NewsRadio 830 WCCO

MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — Why was the death toll in the southern tornadoes so high?

Todd Krause, a tornado warning specialist with the National Weather Service in the Twin Cities, said the tragic twisters were not unexpected.

“It’s something that had been ‘advertised’ for days, really,” said Krause. “It was off the charts in terms of the things we look at for severe weather.”

Krause said those things included wind shear at low elevation, a strong jet stream and very humid and hot conditions.

Krause also noted that the tornadoes tore through several urban areas, causing a death toll of around 300 in six states.

Minnesota led the nation in tornadoes last year, and Krause said the twister season will arrive.

“We will get summer at some point and then when that happens we’ll be getting our tornadoes and severe storms,” he said.

Minnesota experienced 113 tornadoes in 2010, including 48 on June 17 alone.

NewsRadio 830 WCCO’s Steve Murphy Reports

  • Gloria

    The article above doesn’t deal with the question in the headline at all. The MN expert says that these storms were not unexpected, then all the factors involved with why the twisters occurred are listed. However, the question concerning why so many deaths occurred is not dealt with.

    Personally, I think it’s because the folks in the South don’t have as much experience with tornadic activity as we do, and many don’t have basements and safe areas as areas such as MN have.

    • don

      sorry to disagree, but we in the south(MS in my case) have lots of experience with tornados. MS leads the nation in deaths, mostly due to night time activity. you were right about not having basements, very few homes here do. this is called the Dixie Alley.

  • MARK

    Yeah, is there an answer to the question? LOL This seems like a pretty poorly written article.

  • TW

    The population density is much higher there then in most of MN, few people have basements because of water tables being high in most areas, home construction standards for older homes were not as high as what is demanded in MN because of snow loads and new building codes, many homes are not conventional construction at all as there is more flexibility to build a house as it suits you and few places in MN would allow that. Some owner designs are more or less substantial according to the plan of the builder and their budget. I guess there are many other factors including a lack of taking warnings seriously because we have all been through warnings that never turned out tragic. This one was off the scale and who would have figured that it would do what it did? Not your average person just trying to do their thing.

  • Kevin

    I wonder how many people died trying to get a video?

  • Amy R

    As others have pointed out, I specifically wondered why there were so many deaths so was expecting to find an answer or at least an opinion…nope, not here –

    What kind of reporting is this?


  • Eric

    This is a nearly global problem. The “journalist” doesn’t know how to write and answer basic questions related to the story.

  • tom

    Another wcco reporter who does not know how to write a story. H e probably needed to fill a space quickly and quickly he did it. The reason there were so many deaths, is that 130 tornados spawned from a very severe storm and all raced across the southern states in darkness. Its hard to know how many came through one area, and without basements or storm shelters people had to use tubs, small closets, to escape and that is why so many lost their lives. Tornado’s do not pick and choose they just come with amazing speed and power. Time for these southern states to adopt a storm shelter law. They should have some of the underground shelters in every neighborhood. It could save lives.

  • Big twisty

    TW, thanks for the good information. I too thought this was going ot be an artical with some kind of real information. Glad you posted. I wonder why they would post an artical and then not have any useful information in it. Goofy news reporting….

  • M.

    I blame Al Gore and Michael E. Mann.

  • Tracy

    We the strength of the majority of these storms F4 & probably some F5 – I don’t think any place in America would have been able to evade the devastation that has occured. I am from Mississippi and I live about 45 min from Smithville. We were under Tornando warnings at least 5 times in the two days that these tornados occurred. Each time we took the necessary precautions and everyone treated these warnings with respect. The majority of the schools here luckily let out at 1 or 2 (thank goodnes Smithville let out at 2.) We are not idiots that do not heed the warnings and after seeing the footage of Mississippi, Alabama, Tennessee and GA we need to be thanking God that more lives were not lost(I am sure the death toll will rise significantly.) Most of these numbers include only the people that have been found not the missing.

  • TW

    I was a 9m year old kid when the April 3rd 1974 tornadoes ripped through the center of the country. We lived in Louisville and were sort of south west of the area that got the most damage in town. That storm from April 3rd to the 4th killed 319 people from Alabama to Ontario Canada. That evening while we ate a somber supper the house began to shake as an earthquake lasted for 20 or so seconds. Let me tell you what, in the Bible Belt you have no doubts that God is reminding us to depend on Him when all that happens in one day. It is still emotional for me to remember it and we were not in the middle of trauma but saw it and listened to it on TV.

  • Gloria

    Yes, all these reasons are correct, I’m sure, but I still wonder why the reporter didn’t answer the question posed in the headline. This happens so much with every news source.

  • smarterthan your readers

    Can you nimwits not read? Look at the third paragraph. It’s clearly explained WHY the tornados were so deadly. Now quit slapping your armchairs and text a ten dollar donation to the Red Cross for crying out loud. Do something better with your time.

  • Amy R

    Dear smarterthan your readers –
    If the third paragraph were as clear as your profess, I doubt we’d have 12 comments saying otherwise…

  • corruncon

    Actually the third paragraph is internally contradictory – yes, it says the storms were severe (which it does not take an expert to know,) but it also says the onset of these severe conditions was well know in advance. So the same graph explains what is obvious while also providing what should have been a factor mitigating deaths from those severe conditions. It dint meke a hole lot o cents.

    Also, further suggesting a media problem, the entry form for this post clearly says, “name or email.” Yet when I tried to post with just a name I got an error. Clearly, there is a brain drain problem….

  • corruncon


  • julianne

    people who can afford to do so need to rebuild underground homes, many sites are available and the technology is available in many, many cases. Save lives and trucks and all their stuff to help rebuild the next time.

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