With tornado season upon us, Kevin Simmons, Austin College Corrigan Chair of Economics, has had several opportunities to share his findings on the hidden costs of severe weather and the effectiveness of government policies in his book Economic and Societal Impacts of Tornadoes, recently released by the American Meteorological Society.
This spring, he was interviewed by USA Today weather editor Doyle Rice and was included in Rice’s “Spring ripe for tornado watch” in the print edition and also posted to usatoday.com as “Tornado watch: Experts cite economic, societal cost of twisters.”
Simmons, who has been studying the economic impacts and social consequences of tornadoes for nearly a decade, co-authored the book with Daniel Sutter, associate professor of economics at the University of Texas–Pan American, shared points from his book in discussing the high cost of severe weather incidents.
The USA Today articles also include statistics from the research of Dr. Jeffrey Czajkowski, assistant professor of economics, who also studies the economics of natural hazard risks. He currently is in Pennsylvania, having been selected for a prestigious post-doctoral research fellowship at the Wharton School for spring and summer 2011, involved in the school’s Risk Management and Decision Process Center.
Economic and Societal Impacts of Tornadoes evaluates the impact of tornadoes on society and examines efforts to minimize the havoc tornadoes can wreak on communities and individual families. Simmons and Sutter use information compiled from sources including the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) and U.S. Census to explore how factors such as tornado warnings and false alarms affect casualties, whether Doppler radar and tornado shelters are worth the investment, and other societal impacts of nature’s most powerful storm.
“Each year approximately 1,200 tornadoes rip across the United States, many of which are concentrated in the geographical region, consisting of North Texas, Oklahoma, Kansas and Nebraska, known as Tornado Alley,” said Simmons. “In addition to inspiring fear and inflicting physical damage, tornados have a significant societal impact as well.”
Kevin M. Simmons is the Corrigan Chair of Economics at Austin College. In 2009, he was selected as a Fulbright Scholar to work with the International Center for Geohazards in Oslo. Daniel Sutter is associate professor of economics at the University of Texas–Pan American and a senior affiliated scholar of the Mercatus Institute.