Journal Article

Risk of Tornado-related Death and Injury in Oklahoma, May 3, 1999

W. Randolph Daley, Sheryll Brown, Pam Archer, Elizabeth Kruger, Fred Jordan, Dahna Batts and Sue Mallonee

in American Journal of Epidemiology

Published on behalf of Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health

Volume 161, issue 12, pages 1144-1150
Published in print June 2005 | ISSN: 0002-9262
Published online June 2005 | e-ISSN: 1476-6256 | DOI:
Risk of Tornado-related Death and Injury in Oklahoma, May 3, 1999

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On May 3, 1999, powerful tornadoes, including a category F5 tornado, swept through Oklahoma. The authors examined all tornado-related deaths, hospital admissions, and emergency department visits to identify important risk factors. Data on deaths and injuries directly related to the tornadoes and information obtained from a survey of residents in the damage path of the F5 tornado were used in a case-control analysis. The direct force of the tornadoes caused 40 deaths, 133 hospital admissions, and 265 emergency department outpatient visits. The risk of death from the F5 tornado was greater for persons who were in mobile homes (odds ratio (OR) = 35.3, 95% confidence interval (CI): 7.8, 175.6) or outdoors (OR = 141.2, 95% CI: 15.9, 6,379.8) when the tornado struck than for those in permanently anchored houses. Risk of severe injury was also greater for persons in mobile homes (OR = 11.8, 95% CI: 3.4, 51.7) or outdoors (OR = 34.3, 95% CI: 4.4, 1,526.2). However, the risk of death (OR = 0.0, 95% CI: 0.0, 9.9), severe injury (OR = 0.0, 95% CI: 0.0, 2.0), or minor injury (OR = 0.8, 95% CI: 0.1, 3.1) was not greater among persons in motor vehicles than among those in houses. The risk of death (OR = 0.6, 95% CI: 0.1, 1.7), severe injury (OR = 0.2, 95% CI: 0.1, 0.6), or minor injury (OR = 0.3, 95% CI: 0.2, 0.7) was lower among those fleeing their homes in motor vehicles than among those remaining. Recommendations involving the relative safety of motor vehicles during a tornado should be evaluated using experience from recent tornado events.

Keywords: environment; natural disasters; weather; wounds and injuries; CDC, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention; CI, confidence interval; OEMA, Oklahoma Emergency Management Agency; OR, odds ratio; OSDH, Oklahoma State Department of Health

Journal Article.  4445 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Public Health and Epidemiology

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