Degree Name

MS (Master of Science)



Date of Award


Committee Chair or Co-Chairs

Andrew Joyner

Committee Members

Ingrid Luffman, Michael Whitelaw


Tornado intensity and impacts vary drastically across space, thus spatial and statistical analyses were used to identify patterns of tornado severity in the Southeastern United States and to assess the vulnerability and estimated recurrence of tornadic activity. Records from the Storm Prediction Center's tornado database (1950-2014) were used to estimate kernel density to identify areas of high and low tornado frequency at both the regional- and state-scales. Return periods (2-year, 5-year, 10-year, 25-year, 50-year, and 100-year) were calculated at both scales as well using a composite score that included EF-scale magnitude, injury counts, and fatality counts. Results showed that the highest density of tornadoes occur in Alabama, Mississippi, and Arkansas, while the highest return period intensities occur in Alabama and Mississippi. Scaledependent analysis revealed finer details of density and intensity for each state. Better communication of high hazard areas and integration into existing mitigation plans is suggested.

Document Type

Thesis - unrestricted


Copyright by the authors.