I am an Assistant Professor of Geography in the School of Sciences at the University of Louisiana Monroe. My research interests are, broadly, in the environmental impacts of natural hazards on society and the connection between weather and climate. Much of my work bridges the gap between climate change science and climate-society interaction.
PhD in Geography, 2019
Florida State University
MS in Geography, 2015
Florida State University
BS in Environment and Natural Resources, 2013
The Ohio State University
Previous research has identified a number of physical, socioeconomic, and demographic factors related to tornado casualty rates. There remain gaps in our understanding of community-level vulnerabilities to tornadoes. Here a framework is provided for systematically identifying the most unusually devastating tornadoes, defined as those where the observed number of casualties far exceeds the predicted number. Results show that unusually devastating tornadoes occur anywhere tornadoes occur in the United States, but rural areas across the Southeast appear to be most frequented. Seven examples of unusually devastating tornadoes affecting six communities are examined in more detail. In addition, results highlight that cities and towns affected by unusually devastating tornadoes have their own socioeconomic and demographic profiles. Identifying geographic clusters of unusually devastating tornadoes builds a foundation to address community-level causes of destruction that supports ethnographic and qualitative—in addition to quantitative—studies of place-based vulnerability.
Tornadoes are among the most violent hazards in the world capable of producing mass casualties. Much of what is known about the relationship between tornadoes and casualties—injuries and fatalities—is driven by quantitative methods that often omit individual community factors. In response, here we present a place-based analysis of tornado activity and casualties in Shreveport, Louisiana. Results show that tornado casualties are more likely in smooth and lower topography and in formally redlined neighborhoods. Results also indicate that areas around the local Barksdale Air Force Base have experienced fewer casualties than other parts of the city since the installation of a Doppler Radar in 1995 and that Shreveport has a greatly reduced casualty rate since the Super Outbreak of 2011. We argue that continued place-based approaches are necessary for an understanding of the multi-dimensional, structural, and historical legacies that produce disproportionate impacts to environmental hazards and that when combined with quantitative methods, place-based approaches have the potential to create regional or local intervention strategies that can reduce the loss of life.
Tornadoes account for the third highest average annual weather-related fatality rate in the United States. Here tornado fatalities are examined within the context of multiple physical and social factors using tornado level information related to population and housing units within killer tornado damage paths. The 24-year United States per-capita fatality rate is .32%. The per-housing unit fatality rate is .75%. Fatality rates are further evaluated across annual, monthly, and diurnal categorizations. They are also evaluated between fatality locations and across age and sex categorizations. The geographic distribution of fatalities are then given by season, time of day, and residential structures. Results can be used by emergency managers, meteorologists, and planners to better prepare for high-impact events and used by researchers as quantitative evidence to further investigate the relationship between tornadoes, climate, and society.