Jesse Ferrell

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Tornadoes Vs. Mobile Homes

February 23, 2012; 2:46 PM ET

I have heard the question "Are tornadoes attracted to mobile homes?" more than once. We wrote an article about the subject yesterday; in researching it, I came across some more information that I wanted to share with you.

If you look at average tornado deaths by state, versus a census map showing mobile homes as a percentage of structures by state, you can see that there is not much correspondence.

Going one step further, if you overlay the EF-4 and EF-5 tornado tracks from 2011 onto a map showing mobile homes by county, you can see that the destruction last year could have been worse -- only the Mississippi long-track tornado went through counties with the highest percentage of mobile homes.

So I am left with the assumption I originally had: The answer to the question is "no," but there are a lot of mobile homes out there, so odds say that the tornadoes will hit them frequently, and we are more likely to see destruction due to their weak construction. In this video, Dr. Harold Brooks from the SPC (who visited AccuWeather HQ today) says, "the number of Americans living in mobile homes has been increasing for decades." PBS adds, "50% of tornado deaths happen in mobile homes. Structurally, those buildings have very little chance of protecting life and limb in a very powerful tornado."

Watch Political Storm Over Tornadoes on PBS. See more from Need to Know.

The views expressed are those of the author and not necessarily those of AccuWeather, Inc. or AccuWeather.com

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Jesse Ferrell
Jesse Ferrell's WeatherMatrix blog covers extreme weather worldwide with a concentration on weather photos and Social Media.