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WeatherTalk: Are weather risks exaggerated?

Statistics, however, easily create opportunities for misinterpretation

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FARGO — Although weather ranks very high on lists of causes of property damage in the United States — think flood, hail, frozen water pipes, etc. — it hardly shows up on lists of causes of death. Even if natural causes of death are removed, weather is not a high-ranking killer. You are approximately 300 times more likely to die in a car crash than in a tornado.

Statistics, however, easily create opportunities for misinterpretation. You never know when a car crash is going to occur, but you are far more likely to become a victim of a tornado when you are within the boundaries of a tornado watch or a tornado warning. It is for this reason that it makes sense for all families and businesses to have a tornado plan that includes when and where shelter will be taken and how people will reconnect afterward in case cellphone service is disrupted.

Related Topics: WEATHER
John Wheeler is Chief Meteorologist for WDAY, a position he has had since May of 1985. Wheeler grew up in the South, in Louisiana and Alabama, and cites his family's move to the Midwest as important to developing his fascination with weather and climate. Wheeler lived in Wisconsin and Iowa as a teenager. He attended Iowa State University and achieved a B.S. degree in Meteorology in 1984. Wheeler worked about a year at WOI-TV in central Iowa before moving to Fargo and WDAY..
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