A Tornado’s Costly Path

Recent events remind us that tornados often have a sad and deadly cost for the victims in their path. Even an F-3 tornado can cause devastation and the total destruction of everything in its path. Homes are reduced to matchsticks, office buildings to piles of rubble. In 1997, the tornado that hit Jarrell, Texas, actually ripped the pavement right off a roadway. Tornadoes can destroy lives and possessions outright, and the aftereffect of their cost to a business can be felt long after the wind dies down.

The cost to clean up and restore the tornado-ravaged areas is rather surprising. Any tornado can steal irreplaceable data or keepsakes, however, there have been only a few tornados that create horrific damage that captivates the news for weeks and rank off the charts in recovery costs.

F-5 tornadoes have the potential to do damage of a billion dollars per tornado. Here’s where the numbers are interesting. In today’s money, three-quarters of all tornadoes between 1953 and 2013 resulted in damages under $50,000. 300 of the 1200 tornadoes that occurred in this period did more than $50,000,000 in damages. Six percent created over $500,000 in damages. Yet, the top nine in this period did more than $6,000,000,000 in cumulative damages. The tornado that hit Oklahoma City in 2013 created, by itself, more than $2,000,000,000 in damages.


Tornados have occurred on every continent except Antarctica but, by far, the overwhelming majority occur in “Tornado Alley” in the United States, an area that includes parts of Texas, Oklahoma, Kansas, Nebraska and South Dakota, with some areas being more vulnerable than others. Between 1953 and 2013, 32 counties in the USA suffered 3 tornado disasters; 2 counties in OK suffered 4, 3 counties in Arkansas suffered 5 and Lonoke County in Central Arkansas was hit by 6 tornados.

One quarter of businesses that close after a disaster never reopen. All too often, that’s because they lose their data and recreating it, if possible, is simply cost-prohibitive. The only failsafe data disaster recovery lies in having networks and data backed up or replicated in more than one geographically and environmentally safe, remote location. To learn how Global Data Vault can provide the data protection to fit your needs and your budget, contact us.

Sources: Economic and Societal Impacts of Tornadoes, CoreLogic Storm Prediction Center


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