Head injuries are responsible for the majority of tornado deaths. So why don’t more people have helmets handy? Caitlin Dickson reports on the campaign to make them a key component of every storm-readiness kit.
After one of the most severe tornadoes ever to hit the United States hit Moore, Okla., on Monday, about 15 student football players were found alive, wearing football helmets in the interior locker room of a field house at Southmoore High School. Their regular practice canceled in anticipation of a severe storm, the students were watching a video of a previous practice as the tornado approached. Their coach’s instruction to cover their heads with helmets was a spur-of-the-moment suggestion to take advantage of the football equipment handy, but researchers, brain injury experts, and meteorologists argue that helmets should be a key component in every family’s storm safety kit.
Noah Stewart survived a 2011 tornado that leveled his family's Alabama home, thanks to a helmet, according to experts and news reports. (Joe Songer/AL.COM, via Landov)
Following April 2011’s historic spate of tornadoes that killed 338 people in Tennessee, Mississippi, Arkansas, Georgia, and, in particular, Alabama, a team of researchers from the University of Alabama at Birmingham’s Injury Control Research Center set out to find a way to prevent such a death toll from future storms. They came up with what they call a “practical, inexpensive solution”: helmets. According the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 22 percent of the deaths during that four-day outbreak were caused by head injuries. What’s more, a review of research over the past 50 years found that head injuries are responsible for the majority of deaths from tornadoes. Therefore, the UAB researchers determined, the most basic piece of equipment used to prevent head injuries, from the baseball field to the back of a motorcycle, also should be used during a tornado. They began petitioning the CDC to update its tornado preparation page to include helmets as a key component to every home tornado preparedness plan.
She’s been thrust onto the national stage by the storm that devastated her state, and Gov. Mary Fallin looks like the star Sarah Palin was supposed to be. Fallin talks to Lloyd Grove about the heartbreaking scene in Moore.
After a wrenching night full of hope and sorrow, Gov. Mary Fallin was functioning on three hours’ sleep when she visited the First Baptist Church on Tuesday in the Oklahoma City suburb of Moore. The church—one of those fortunate buildings that wasn’t blown to smithereens by Monday’s monster tornado—had been turned into a makeshift Red Cross facility offering food and shelter to victims and helping relatives separated in the lethal storm to reunite with each other.
Oklahoma Gov. Mary Fallin, right, walks through the Steelman Estates Mobile Home Park, which was hard hit in Sunday's tornado, with Albert Ashwood, left, Director of the Oklahoma Department of Emergency Management, near Shawnee, Okla. on May 20, 2013. (Sue Ogrocki/AP)
“When I was in the church,” the governor recounted in an interview with The Daily Beast, “I heard several ladies wailing really loud, because they’d just been told that they’d lost a loved one. It was a very emotional, hard experience to listen to utter grief—the dimensions of the tragedy and the voices of those ladies. One of them had just found out she had lost her husband. I don’t know about the other ones. But I never heard people scream and cry that loud.”
It’s too soon to tell whether climate change worsens tornadoes. But the real lesson, says 'Overheated' author Andrew T. Guzman, is that we ought to ignore the noise from zealots and listen to the scientists.
It seems that every major weather-related event becomes a skirmish in the climate-change wars. The terrible tornado that hit Moore, Oklahoma is no exception. Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse of Rhode Island, for example, suggested a connection between the tornado and climate change. Climate change deniers responded in the usual way, with accusations of fear-mongering.
Residents pass a destroyed car as they walk through a tornado-ravaged neighborhood in Moore, Oklahoma on May 21, 2013. (Charlie Riedel/AP)
With respect to the connection between climate and tornadoes, things seem to have already settled down and most media discussions seem to be getting the question about right. Given the current state of our scientific knowledge, we cannot say with any confidence that climate change makes tornadoes stronger or more common. Tornadoes require two things—energy and wind shear. Climate change increases the available energy, but reduces the wind shear, making the net result hard to predict.
17 miles long, 1.3 miles wide.
A day after the tornado that devastated Moore, Oklahoma, was classified as an EF4, the National Weather Service upgraded its status to a scale-topping EF5, which the tornado achieved with winds over 200 miles per hour. The Weather Service said the storm's path was 17 miles long and 1.3 miles wide. Of 1,000 tornadoes to hit the U.S. each year, only about one achieves EF5 status. As the storm's power rose on the scales, its human toll was lowered: after having reported as many as 91 dead Monday night, officials revised the death count to 24.
Homeschooled so he could focus on computers.
Before he created Tumblr—a micro-blogging platform acquired by Yahoo for $1.1 billion—David Karp was a high-school dropout. Bored with his classes at Bronx High School of Science, the bright teenager decided to opt for homeschooling. His mom, Barbara Ackerman, says it was the best decision he ever made. “It became very clear that David needed the space to live his passion. Which was computers,” Ackerman says. Now 26, with neither a high-school diploma or a college degree, Karp is a newly made billionaire. Currently living with his girlfriend in a $1.6 million loft in Brooklyn, the tall, slight brunet still entertains the thought of going to college one day. “At least I should be able to afford it,” he quips.
On his way home for summer vacation.
A 21-year-old student from the University of Rhode Island went missing this week on his way home to Skippack Township, Pa.—where he planned to spend his summer vacation with his family. Matthew Royer was reportedly last seen on campus May 16, the day he left. He sent a text message to his mom before leaving telling her that he had overslept. According to surveillance footage found on his route, he stopped for gas twice on the way. The college junior was planning to work at a golf course near his home. When he didn’t show, his parents called the police.
While training in a counterterrorism operation.
An FBI official shed additional light Monday night on the deaths of two FBI agents who were killed while training Friday. The spokeswoman says Christopher Lorek and Stephen Shaw fell to their death during a counterterrorism exercise, when the helicopter from which they were “fast-roping” ran into difficulty, dropping them a “significant distance” from the ship below. A formal cause of death for the two will likely not be announced for weeks. The two men were members of the bureau’s elite rescue team—the same one that saved the 5-year-old boy who was trapped for days inside an Alabama bunker. "They're really the best of the best as far as civilians,” said Clint Van Zandt, a former FBI hostage negotiator.
For central/east Texas and central Arkansas.
As the nation watches the town of Moore, Okla., desperately search for survivors, meteorologists warn that the severe weather may not be over. Officials say that 9.5 million people—from Texas to Arkansas—remain under the threat of potentially catastrophic tornadoes. In an announcement Tuesday morning, Weather Channel meteorologist Kevin Roth delivered a warning to residents of central/east Texas and central Arkansas, where the storm is heading. “Another day of large and devastating tornadoes is possible,” he said. By Tuesday morning, thunderstorms were already wreaking havoc in Arkansas, with winds up to 60 miles per hour.
Part of why the State Department has taken the brunt of the political blame for the Benghazi attack, writes Eli Lake, is that clandestine services by definition have very little public oversight.
At a secret February ceremony at CIA headquarters in Langley, Va., the chief of the CIA’s base in Benghazi the night of the 9/11 anniversary attacks there was awarded one of the agency’s highest intelligence medals, according to U.S. military and intelligence officials.
The interior of the burnt US consulate building in the eastern Libyan city of Benghazi. (Gianluigi Guercia/AFP/Getty Images)
The honor given behind closed doors to “Bob,” the officer who was in charge of the Benghazi intelligence annex and CIA base that was attacked in the early morning of September 12, 2012 and then abandoned for nearly three weeks, illustrates the murky lines of command that preceded the attack, and helped make it a politically volatile issue. While the State Department was responsible for elements of the security for the diplomatic mission at Benghazi, the mission itself was used primarily for intelligence activities and most the U.S. officials there and at the nearby annex were CIA officers who used State Department cover.
Suburbs have more poor people mainly because they have more people, write Joel Kotkin and Wendell Cox.
In the wake of the post-2008 housing bust, suburbia has become associated with many of the same ills long associated with cities, as our urban-based press corps and cultural elite cheerfully sneer at each new sign of decline, most recently a study released Monday by the Brookings Institution—which has become something of a Vatican for anti-suburban theology—trumpeting the news that there are now 1 million more poor people in America’s suburbs than in its cities.
A young girl walks through a trailer park on May 22, 2012, in Joplin, Mo. (Joe Raedle/Getty)
America’s suburbs, noted one British journalist, are becoming “ghost towns” as middle-class former suburbanites migrate to the central core. That’s simply untrue: both the 2010 Census and other more recent analyses demonstrate that America is becoming steadily more suburban: 44 million Americans live in America’s 51 major metropolitan areas, while nearly 122 million Americans live in their suburbs. In other words, nearly three quarters of metropolitan Americans live in suburbs, not core cities.
17-year-old Zach Sobiech passed away Monday from osteosarcoma. Before he died, he wrote and recorded the song 'Clouds.' Here, friends and celebrities, from Bryan Cranston to Sarah Silverman, sing along, and Zach had two weeks to see this video before going where 'the view's a little nicer.'