Saturday, December 20, 2008

Did They Really Have to Tell Us This?

A new map has been created to plot deaths resulting from forces of nature. The new map reveals where “Mother Nature” is most likely to kill you.

Yes, according to the news story on Fox News, Mother Nature has now taken ownership of killing people, or maybe Mother Nature is being accused of it, anyway.

Interested in knowing more?

The report says that people living in the South along the Atlantic and Gulf Coasts have a higher likelihood of dying from a natural hazard compared to residents of the Great Lakes area and urbanized Northeast. [I wonder how many years these scientists had to go to school to realize that. And, how much government research money went into the study.]

And while intense hurricanes and tornadoes steal headlines for their intense winds and overall destruction, the new map shows what other previous studies have found, that everyday hazards, such as severe winter and summer weather, and heat account for the majority of natural hazard deaths in the United States.

“This work will enable research and emergency management practitioners to examine hazard deaths through a geographic lens,” said researcher Susan Cutter of the University of South Carolina, Columbia. “Using this as a tool to identify areas with higher than average hazard deaths can justify allocation of resources to these areas with the goal of reducing loss of life.”
Cutter and Kevin Borden, also of the University of South Carolina, Columbia, analyzed nationwide data from 1970 to 2004.

In addition to the South having high mortality from natural hazards, other risky areas included the northern Great Plains region where heat and drought were the biggest killers and the Rocky Mountain region (Montana, Idaho, Wyoming, Colorado, Utah and New Mexico) with winter weather and floods as top killers. The south-central United States is also a dangerous area, with floods and tornadoes posing the greatest threats.

Did we need a study to tell us any of that? It’s almost like saying, “If you jump into the pool, you will get wet!” If you live in the Rocky Mountains, you will get snow and cold weather, really? Are you shocked? If you live in the South, you’ll experience hurricanes and tornadoes? Again, really? Do these scientists think we’ve all just fallen off the turnip truck?

Next thing you know, they’ll prove my mother right: if you play with matches, you’ll get burned!