Thursday, May 26, 2011

Tornado Proofing

"Government shouldn't tell people how they can build a house."

Recent tornado destruction had me wondering why progressives can't use these events to raise building standards.  At the very least, shouldn't the government provide public storm shelters, to give those in the path some refuge.

We are spending billions each month to 'protect' Americans from terrorists.  Care to guess how much we spend on protecting us from weather?  The National Weather Service receives exactly .03% of the budget or around $800 million, while NOAA (National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration) operates on $5.5 billion each year or .19% of the budget.  Why is it surprising that hundreds of people die every year from 'bad storms'.

Tornados are not going away, in fact they appear to be on the rise.  As good stewards of our union, we should take steps to fix what is clearly broken in these senseless deaths and injuries.  Sirens that sound occasionally when there may, or may not be, tornado activity, is not working as adequate tornado protection.  

In my hometown, warning sirens have sounded twice this year, and we've had exactly zero tornados.  This happens so often that sirens send people outside, to see what going on for themselves.  In Tuscaloosa people did not take cover when the warning sirens sounded, as in Joplin, for the very same reason I stated here in my town.  Sirens are often sounded without cause.  When you tell citizens that warning sirens mean, "a tornado has been spotted, take cover now", then no tornado occurs, you have 'Cried Wolf'.

If we are going to protect people from bad weather, we are going to have to develop more reliable warning systems and employ them properly. We are going to have to raise building standards, and we are going to have to provide some sort of public shelter facilities, nationwide.  Tornados are no longer only inside Tornado Alley.

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