Southeast especially vulnerable to tornadoes, study shows

BY Vicky Pasquantonio  June 15, 2014 at 1:00 PM EDT

A new study says four out of five U.S. states that are most vulnerable to “killer twisters” are in the Southeast, with Florida topping the list.

According to an Associated Press report, Florida’s death rate of 2.4 deaths per 100 miles that a tornado covers is over two-and-a-half times that of Oklahoma and nearly five times that of Kansas– states many think of as associated with threatening tornado systems.

The new study was conducted by the federal Southeast Regional Climate Center at the University of North Carolina.

Florida has a high number of factors that make tornadoes more risky, including mobile homes, as well as large populations of elderly and poor residents. Center director Charles Konrad II told the AP that visibility is also a concern in the state where majority of the tornadoes occur at night.

Tornadoes that occur overnight can be especially dangerous because conditions make visibility difficult and people are asleep.

According to the report, the year 2011 was the most active tornado month on record across six southeastern states, including Alabama, Arkansas, Kentucky, Mississippi, Tennessee, and North Carolina.

A total of 316 people were killed, with majority of the deaths occurring during a four-day period in April.