The AP tells us that the tornado that struck the Oklahoma City, OK suburb of Moore this week may have created $1.5 – $2 billion or more in damage as it tore through as many as 13,000 homes, multiple schools, businesses and a medical center. Early reports of high death tolls (51, 91, etc.) than we initially reported from news sources were the results of officials who counted the dead twice, plus the confusion that reigned as land telephone lines went down and cell towers were overloaded. The revised death toll on Wednesday stood at 24.
The facts that follow are in no way meant to minimize the tragedy that occurred Monday May 20, 2013 in Moore and that area. It is meant to establish some perspective on those events. These are facts that your front line sales and site-leasing professionals need to know!
Some media reports and interviews aired the commons comments that questioned the wisdom of living in “tornado alley” locations such as Moore, OK. The realities of the recent event in and around Moore and a broader context will follow.
With all the talk about global warming, climate change and related, it may surprise many to know that the severity and death toll from such tornadoes has dropped in recent years.
The chart below states the facts about the deadliest recorded U.S. tornado events
The 10 Deadliest U.S. Tornadoes
As sad as these facts are, statistically over 4 times as many people died in the U.S. Monday in auto accidents than in the deadly tornado. Over 110 times as many died statistically from cigarette smoking that day. The chart below is from the National Institutes of Health (NIH) and the Center for Disease Control (CDC 2001).
While weather reports indicate that more typical tornadoes touch down for 7 minutes or less, storms like the one in Moore, Oklahoma Monday remind us there are exceptions. The estimates of the length of time on the ground for the deadly Tornado that struck Moore is about 40-45 minutes.We must also consider that the population growth and density has increased, which in theory creates an increased risk. But modern radar, broadcast weather alerts and municipal sirens all help cut the risk from tornadoes today.
What we saw Monday in the rubble of hundreds of conventionally built houses and buildings was a stark reminder that only an underground shelter can be considered reasonably safe during a tornado. But even an underground storm shelter isn’t a guarantee. One Moore survivor with a storm shelter told a reporter that he held onto the storm shelter door, as he feared it would otherwise have been torn off by the tornado.
Two photos of manufactured homes were captured by the media. One photo showed a home that had rolled over, but had maintained a higher degree of integrity than hundreds of houses built on site. What we don’t know from the photo is the answer to the question: was the manufactured home properly anchored and installed?
Either way, one can imagine that people could have survived the storm even in that ‘rolled’ home.
The photo of a metal sided, metal roofed manufactured home above revealed broken windows, but the home apparently remained in place. Presumably, that home was properly anchored and installed.
Those who own a manufactured home, and those of us who market and sell them can take a kind of pride and confidence in these facts. The old misinformation that manufactured homes disappear or are “gone in the wind” like Dorothy’s home in the Wizard of Oz is clearly inaccurate.
The point is that a properly manufactured home does much better than we are generally given credit for, and the safety is not inferior to that of a site built house on a slab that is hit by is kind of tornado. This photo of a leveled neighborhood demonstrates that reality.
The lower cost of a manufactured home makes affording a storm shelter a valid consideration for many. You could own a manufactured home and a storm shelter, and still be well under the price of conventional construction. Some many not realize that a manufactured home can be designed for installation over a partial or full basement too.
Our Industry Voices article from MHAO’s Deanna Fields in Oklahoma captured a thought that all involved in manufactured housing need to grasp and be ready to respond to with ease. She related how a local TV station’s newsman was reportedly bashing away at a manufactured home community that had been struck before the Moore storm hit. But in the wake of the devastation and damage to some 13,000 houses, the local reported dropped his ‘coverage’ about the MH Community.
We are all saddened by what happened in Moore. But let us learn some lessons from the midst of that tragedy. Our homes demonstrably faired well in the instances captured in these photos. That is useful information for potentially millions of home shoppers, as well public officials and the media.
We also need to know and be able to share the FACT that the odds are in favor of manufactured home owners, as we learned in this video linked below.
We have a tremendous story in Manufactured Homes! Let us learn to share it well. Because the facts well told can benefit the U.S. where quality, affordable homes are so badly needed.
We will likely have an unveiling by the end of next week. Be sure to stay tuned, it will certainly become popular!
We also are lining up our featured articles for June. We have one of our A Cup of Coffee with…Joe Stegmayer interviews in hand and ready! It will be a BIGGIE! Cavco’s Chairman and a prior Chair for the Manufactured Housing Institute (MHI) has graced us with an interview that will be a hot read to start a hot summer!
We have more hot tickets for industry doers, thinkers with movers and shakers coming in the pipeline too. Stay tuned.
Finally, on behalf of our team, sponsors and writers, let us thank all those who have and do protect our freedom and wish all a happy Memorial Day. ##
(Photo credits in prior Masthead blog post, final photo credit WikiCommons)
(Stills credit: from a YouTube video by Hollywood 2 NY is back, perhaps taken from news sources.)
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