Weather radios now required for Indiana mobile homes

By: Dr. Jeff Masters , 1:36 PM GMT on April 27, 2007

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Mobile homes sold in the state of Indiana after June 30 this year must come equipped with a weather radio capable of alerting residents of an approaching tornado, thanks to a law signed by Indiana governor Mitch Daniels this week. The legislation, dubbed "C.J.'s Law", was named after 2-year old C.J. Martin, who died in a F3 tornado that killed 25 people in southwestern Indiana on November 6, 2005. Twenty of the victims lived in the Eastbrook Mobile Home Park in Evansville. The storm hit at 2am, when many residents were asleep and didn't hear the tornado sirens. C.J.'s mother, Kathryn Martin, pushed lawmakers to adopt the bill, pointing out that weather radios with a tone alert system could have saved many lives in the mobile home park.

This type of law makes great sense for mobile homes sold in tornado alley--think of it as a companion to your smoke detector in the house. Mobile home residents make up just 7% of the U.S. population, but account for 40% of the deaths in tornadoes. However, there are a number of issues that may make the law ineffective. Firstly, what type of weather radio will be purchased? There are many poor quality units out there, prone to radio interference, and difficult to program (weather radios require the user to input a special SAME code, needed to issue tone alerts when a tornado warning is issued). Secondly, the NWS sends out weekly or monthly test alerts on weather radio--how many mobile home owners will simply turn off their weather radios because they are sick of hearing the regular tests? Or turn them off after a few false alarms wake them up in the middle of the night for tornadoes that appear on Doppler radar, but never touch down? Thirdly, once the residents of a mobile home park are awakened by an alert, where do they go? Indiana, like most states, has no law requiring mobile home parks to have a tornado shelter. However, there is now Federal money available for mobile home parks to construct tornado shelters, so the number of parks with shelters may increase in coming years. In summary, the law has the potential to save lives--but only if it is properly enacted.


Figure 1. Damage to C.J. Martin's mobile home park near Evansville, Indiana due to the November 6, 2005 tornado. Image credit: Paducah, KY NWS.

Jeff Masters

Indiana/Kentucky Tornado - Ellis Race Track Backside 3 (Soniknate)
A close-up of the damage to the apartments, horse stalls, and other objects. People cleaning up debris in photo.
Indiana/Kentucky Tornado - Ellis Race Track Backside 3

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167. Hellsniper223
5:56 PM GMT on April 28, 2007
La nina Is dying down.
Member Since: March 28, 2006 Posts: 0 Comments: 16
166. StoryOfTheCane
5:54 PM GMT on April 28, 2007
SSTs are warmer than average in the MDR, not sure how it compares to last year though they sure haven't gotten any colder, definitely on a warming trend



164. Caffinehog
5:19 PM GMT on April 28, 2007
......
Member Since: June 5, 2003 Posts: 0 Comments: 40
162. GainesvilleGator
5:02 PM GMT on April 28, 2007
There has been a lot of talk on here about high SST levels this year in the Atlantic basin. Is it just me or have the SSTs dropped from a week ago? A few weeks ago it looked like we were just a tad off of 2005 levels & now the gap seems a lot bigger.
Member Since: September 11, 2005 Posts: 4 Comments: 744
161. savedbygod
3:46 PM GMT on April 28, 2007
: chuckles - If a house is like a can, a mobile home is the equivalent of a TV dinner tray in strength.
Posted By: kellnerp at 1:57 PM GMT on April 28, 2007.

Kelnerp - Back to Dr. Master's original theme about mobile homes. We need to remember that these are really MOBILE homes, not mobile houses. They are designed to move and be moved. That leads to the question, why mobile? The answer is that there are usually loopholes in the law that make ownership much cheaper than owning a house. This type of housing exists for one reason, legal loopholes.

Mobile homes are really just RVs on steroids. As such they are built like RVs. This means that they are "designed" to be built extremely quickly with the cheapest possible Bill of Materials. Looking at the pictures Dr. Masters posted you will see that the siding has blown off of the units. The siding is just held on with staples just like the framing is held together with staples. Once the wind lifts one sheet then all the sheets of siding will come off. You don't want to be outside in a mobile home park during a tornado. You would be cut to shreds. Pilots have a name for this, FOD or Flying Object Damage. Once the siding is off all semblance of structural integrity is gone and the mobile home will disintegrate. A lot of the better RVs will have laminated sandwich sides which will not have this kind of failure mode. But lamination is not common for mobile homes for various reasons one of which is cost.

Since these are mobile homes there has to be someplace for the wheels so they sit up high off the ground with open space beneath. Strong winds can then get a real "bite" on the structure and pick it up or roll it. Besides making a mobile home easy for wind to get a "bite" on, they will be hard to exit rapidly for elderly or handicapped persons. If there was a warning, and if there was a shelter, these types of homes are very hard to exit for some.

To address these kinds of concerns governor Daniels might well have had the legislature look into setting higher standards for mobile home construction. Since Indiana is one of the nations leading states for the manufacture of RVs and mobile homes this would be a good place to start. What kind of thing could be set as a standard:

1. Take away any "loopholes" in tax laws that mobile homes enjoy.

2. Require certain types of structural integrity standards like the ability to withstand rolling over without disintigrating, the ability to withstand 150mph winds without producing FOD and perhaps a portion of the building designed not to collapse during a tornadic event much like autos are required to have for passenger compartment integrity.

3. Make it illegal to continuously occupy a mobile structure over a week in one location without provision of a tiedown system capable of withstanding 150mph winds.

4. Require the mobile home parks to install at least one elevated emergency siren system for each five acres of land. This makes much more sense than installing alarms in the mobile homes themselves as it will warn people outside the mobile homes as well as those inside and will work for both old and new construction whether built in Indiana or not.

5. Spend money on research for "On the Ground Tornado Detectors". This is quite doable with today's technology.

And finally, my cynical take on putting alarms in new mobile homes is that it will help the insurance industry by giving them an out against claims that a person was injured or killed because they were in a mobile home. On the one hand they can say why didn't you leave the structure when the alarm went off and on the other hand they can say you didn't change the batteries or turn it on if that was the case.


You can't change the weather, but you can sure carry an umbrella.
***********************************************
(I don't know if I got the quotes from your comments in here, the right way or not. I am fairly new at this & not a whiz on the computer)

I think all of you have a misconception about many of the mobile homes made today. Granted, there are still many that are cheap junk as they used to be. Many are built good & even better than some stick built homes. I come from a construction family so I know what I am talking about. I've seen new stick built homes that are junk.
We moved to this place in 1994. We moved into an old home, intending to build beside it and tear down the old one. These lots are very long & narrow. The builders could not put their plans on it because of that. So we put a double wide mobile home on it. This houses has 2'x6' walls, has a very high energy rating & it is secured on a foundation. It has regular siding & sheetrocked walls. My Dad was a builder & drywaller. He built his own home. He hated mobile homes but loved this one & had to admit there was nothing wrong with it. We pay taxes & insurance on it, as a house. It IS a house. Because of the way it's built & secured to the foundation, I would ride out strong winds or a tornado in this before any of these other homes around here, including the new ones they put in.
160. Skyepony (Mod)
3:45 PM GMT on April 28, 2007
Chuckles~ I had problems with my smoke detector going off a few minutes each night before dinner was even done. Though it did double as a dinner bell, I researched it & replaced the ionization type I had with a photelectric type. It bumps the price up slightly but certainly worthy of the investment & still fairly cheap. Just as the weather radio with the SAME technology is worth a few extra dollars to cut out alarms your not interested in.
Member Since: August 10, 2005 Posts: 161 Comments: 37403
159. Tazmanian
3:34 PM GMT on April 28, 2007
ok would that be F4?
Member Since: May 21, 2006 Posts: 5091 Comments: 114757
158. HurricaneMyles
3:17 PM GMT on April 28, 2007
Taz,

F5 leaves nothing standing. Those walls, trees, powerpolls, ect would be nothing but splinters.
Member Since: January 12, 2006 Posts: 5 Comments: 827
157. Tazmanian
3:15 PM GMT on April 28, 2007
that looks like F5 damage in dr m photo
Member Since: May 21, 2006 Posts: 5091 Comments: 114757
156. kmanislander
3:12 PM GMT on April 28, 2007
Not as active as yesterday but still there. Hope it comes this way with some much needed rain
Member Since: August 19, 2006 Posts: 0 Comments: 15741
155. kmanislander
3:05 PM GMT on April 28, 2007
We would give anything for $2 gas.
Try $5 per imperial gallon !. Thats what we pay.
Fortunately the island is small and even though it costs $55 to fill my car I can run a week on that. An suv costs about $70 to fill up here
Member Since: August 19, 2006 Posts: 0 Comments: 15741
154. STLweatherjunkie
3:00 PM GMT on April 28, 2007
People keep barking about oil company profits as if it's a crime to make a profit. No profit, no company, no jobs, period. If you had sales of 365 billion for your company, a 36 billion net income is reasonable at 10%.

I completely agree, in fact i think they should raise the prices even further. Were lucky to pay 2 dollars a gallon to put it in perspective germany has to pay about 1 euro per liter. roughly 4 liters to a gallon and roughly 1,5 dollars to a euro means they are paying nearly 6 dollars a gallon. I think that in order for people to really slow usage and encourage conservation they have to really spike the prices.

To mandate a law that you have to have one, is just another intrusion by gov't. Probably a democrat's idea. For a cover up, read about seat belts. It's based on erroneous conclusions if you read the research. While it may save some lives, it is actually responsible for many more injuries.

First of all it shouldnt be which politcal party did it and second of all Mitch Daniels, the governor who signed this bill is a republican. Second of all your statement about seat belts if you are correct in what your saying i have one question for you. Would you rather get injured or die?
Member Since: September 9, 2001 Posts: 0 Comments: 1038
153. chuckles
1:58 PM GMT on April 28, 2007
People keep barking about oil company profits as if it's a crime to make a profit. No profit, no company, no jobs, period. If you had sales of 365 billion for your company, a 36 billion net income is reasonable at 10%.

Supply and demand for crude is real, and we're not helping with our wasteful ways. It's not the politicians - Rep. of Dem. fault. It's our fault. The U.S. consumes and throws away a far higher percentage of the world's resources than is fair. If all countries used the same ratio, there would not be much gas to buy, much less other scarce metals. The China demand is just getting started, as well as India in their thirst for crude. Ethanol is not the answer. The energy cost (total expenses - production/ marketing/ delivery) for ethanol production is higher than gasoline, so it's not that efficient. Refineries haven't been built because of the strict EPA regulations - Democrats fault.

Weather radios in all homes is a nice idea, but if a tornado hits, there simply is not much protection in any home if there is no shelter, or you can't get to one fast enough. If a house is like a can, a mobile home is the equivalent of a TV dinner tray in strength.

I got tired of the smoke detector going off all the time from cooking, so I turned it off. I'd do the same with the weather radio after enough false alerts.

To mandate a law that you have to have one, is just another intrusion by gov't. Probably a democrat's idea. For a cover up, read about seat belts. It's based on erroneous conclusions if you read the research. While it may save some lives, it is actually responsible for many more injuries.

Apologies to you weather guys, but here's hoping for a really boring hurricane season.
Member Since: September 26, 2005 Posts: 0 Comments: 2
152. kellnerp
1:57 PM GMT on April 28, 2007
Back to Dr. Master's original theme about mobile homes. We need to remember that these are really MOBILE homes, not mobile houses. They are designed to move and be moved. That leads to the question, why mobile? The answer is that there are usually loopholes in the law that make ownership much cheaper than owning a house. This type of housing exists for one reason, legal loopholes.

Mobile homes are really just RVs on steroids. As such they are built like RVs. This means that they are "designed" to be built extremely quickly with the cheapest possible Bill of Materials. Looking at the pictures Dr. Masters posted you will see that the siding has blown off of the units. The siding is just held on with staples just like the framing is held together with staples. Once the wind lifts one sheet then all the sheets of siding will come off. You don't want to be outside in a mobile home park during a tornado. You would be cut to shreds. Pilots have a name for this, FOD or Flying Object Damage. Once the siding is off all semblance of structural integrity is gone and the mobile home will disintegrate. A lot of the better RVs will have laminated sandwich sides which will not have this kind of failure mode. But lamination is not common for mobile homes for various reasons one of which is cost.

Since these are mobile homes there has to be someplace for the wheels so they sit up high off the ground with open space beneath. Strong winds can then get a real "bite" on the structure and pick it up or roll it. Besides making a mobile home easy for wind to get a "bite" on, they will be hard to exit rapidly for elderly or handicapped persons. If there was a warning, and if there was a shelter, these types of homes are very hard to exit for some.

To address these kinds of concerns governor Daniels might well have had the legislature look into setting higher standards for mobile home construction. Since Indiana is one of the nations leading states for the manufacture of RVs and mobile homes this would be a good place to start. What kind of thing could be set as a standard:

1. Take away any "loopholes" in tax laws that mobile homes enjoy.

2. Require certain types of structural integrity standards like the ability to withstand rolling over without disintigrating, the ability to withstand 150mph winds without producing FOD and perhaps a portion of the building designed not to collapse during a tornadic event much like autos are required to have for passenger compartment integrity.

3. Make it illegal to continuously occupy a mobile structure over a week in one location without provision of a tiedown system capable of withstanding 150mph winds.

4. Require the mobile home parks to install at least one elevated emergency siren system for each five acres of land. This makes much more sense than installing alarms in the mobile homes themselves as it will warn people outside the mobile homes as well as those inside and will work for both old and new construction whether built in Indiana or not.

5. Spend money on research for "On the Ground Tornado Detectors". This is quite doable with today's technology.

And finally, my cynical take on putting alarms in new mobile homes is that it will help the insurance industry by giving them an out against claims that a person was injured or killed because they were in a mobile home. On the one hand they can say why didn't you leave the structure when the alarm went off and on the other hand they can say you didn't change the batteries or turn it on if that was the case.


You can't change the weather, but you can sure carry an umbrella.

TOP
Member Since: September 1, 2003 Posts: 0 Comments: 172
151. Tazmanian
1:55 PM GMT on April 28, 2007
hi
Member Since: May 21, 2006 Posts: 5091 Comments: 114757
150. StormJunkie
9:49 AM EDT on April 28, 2007
Earthquake Info
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
149. ryang
9:42 AM AST on April 28, 2007
Morning all...
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
148. rxse7en
9:42 AM EDT on April 28, 2007
http://news.sky.com/skynews/article/0,,70131-1263216,00.html

Earthquakes in England. Hate to have been in the Chunnel during that.
Member Since: August 21, 2005 Posts: 0 Comments: 529
147. rxse7en
9:40 AM EDT on April 28, 2007
Story,

How persistent is that High in that area?
Member Since: August 21, 2005 Posts: 0 Comments: 529
146. rxse7en
9:22 AM EDT on April 28, 2007
I've been checking in now and again. Been busy with work and lack of weather here in Jacksonville.

Last frame of the GFS (850 mb Vort.) has a low with a spin just north of Puerto Rico on 5/14...could that be our first storm of the season. Yeah, yeah, it's two weeks out...
Member Since: August 21, 2005 Posts: 0 Comments: 529
145. StoryOfTheCane
1:24 PM GMT on April 28, 2007
DUM DUM DUM DUM DUMMMM...

144. kmanislander
1:08 PM GMT on April 28, 2007
Good morning from the Caymans

There are signs of a transition into the season.Although the Caribbean is still very dry overall we are starting to see persistent showers in the S Caribbean. This is also the breeding ground for any early season activity that might occur so the evolution of moisture levels will be of interest to all.

Member Since: August 19, 2006 Posts: 0 Comments: 15741
143. StormJunkie
9:07 AM EDT on April 28, 2007
How's it going crown, good to see you and thanks for the info!
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142. crownwx
12:46 PM GMT on April 28, 2007
For those of you looking for a "second opinion" re: the GFS model, go to the GFS Parallel site. It is basically the experimental GFS model with new equations and I believe a more enhanced grid field. The GFS-P model is scheduled to be turned into the operational GFS model on 1 May. To view the GFS-P model, just go: HERE
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141. StormJunkie
8:34 AM EDT on April 28, 2007
Morning all.

Good to see you rx7, been awhile!
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140. rxse7en
8:24 AM EDT on April 28, 2007
Nice and sunny here in the Florida Desert...aka Jacksonville. Almost time to warm up the anti-cyclonic generators for hurricane season.
Member Since: August 21, 2005 Posts: 0 Comments: 529
138. hurricane23
8:06 AM EDT on April 28, 2007
Hey Stormw!
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137. Patrap
7:01 AM CDT on April 28, 2007
2 weeks to East-pac..Id say we have a lil while mo to wait....Jazzfest Here in Nola.We a rocking! Jazzfest 07 A slideshow Link
Member Since: July 3, 2005 Posts: 421 Comments: 127622
135. Patrap
6:57 AM CDT on April 28, 2007
6
Member Since: July 3, 2005 Posts: 421 Comments: 127622
134. hurricane23
7:55 AM EDT on April 28, 2007
From looking at recent runs from the GFS the one thing thats sticks out to me is that the GFS has begun developing these fantasy storms that have to be taken with great caution which 85 percent of the the time never take place. This will only get worse as we get deeper into the season.For me personaly i look for model consistency from different models along with a host of other factors that have to be taken into consideration.

Overall i think its still a tad bit to early for this type of event to take place.The 00Z GFS has 1006-1008mb area of low pressure developing in the caribbean moving NE towards cuba.On the 06Z the GFS contInues to show a weak area of low pressure 1007mb in the caribbean moving NE.Anyway this should be used as a wake-up call that hurricane season is fast approaching take care adrian.

Adrian's Weather
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132. 882MB
11:44 AM GMT on April 28, 2007
Hey everybody goodmorning, From the look at the 2 MOST ECENT GFS LOOP CONTINUE TO SHOW DEVELOPMENT IN THE CARRIBEAN IN 1 TO 2 WEEKS!
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130. Patrap
6:19 AM CDT on April 28, 2007
5
Member Since: July 3, 2005 Posts: 421 Comments: 127622
128. Hu
6:19 AM GMT on April 28, 2007
It's all about money. I agree that solar,wind and other alternative fuels are good for the environment. However, as long as people are more concerned about themselves,and not about each other, that's the way it will be. How unfortunate. Egos will be the downfall of us all. Hu
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127. hornfan
6:14 AM GMT on April 28, 2007
Oil has replaced religion as the biggest source of conflict on earth. The only solution is to find an alternative. Quite frankly, I think that SOLAR energy may be our savior. Where wind is reliable, it will make an excellent adjunct.

you are totally correct. But as long as there are fortunes tied with oil - I am not sure that it will happen. As I said before - the petro crisis is not a democrat/republican issue but a world issue.
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124. Caffinehog
5:04 AM GMT on April 28, 2007
Come on, folks. No matter what side they're on, most politicians care about one thing: Lining their own wallets.

The simple fact is that petroleum supplies are a problem. We'll do OK for a while, with the discovery of the Athabasca oil sands, but a long-term solution is needed. That means funding chemists, NOT climatologists. Of course, we do need the latter, but finding better sources of energy needs to be a priority. We can survive limited climate change.

Face it. Oil has replaced religion as the biggest source of conflict on earth. The only solution is to find an alternative. Quite frankly, I think that SOLAR energy may be our savior. Where wind is reliable, it will make an excellent adjunct.
Please stop the political mudslinging... Spend some time researching alternative energy and ways of reducing consumption. Instead of reading up on what democrat wants us to use 1 square of toilet paper or which republican wants to invade iran, learn about compact fluorescent lightbulbs, geothermal heating and cooling, solar panels, wind generators, and hybrid cars. You'll find that YOU can make a difference, if only a small one. And if enough contribute, it won't be a small difference afterall.
Member Since: June 5, 2003 Posts: 0 Comments: 40
123. hornfan
4:16 AM GMT on April 28, 2007
Also im not downing anyone. I'm tired of rocks being thrown at the president. I have serious problems with some of the decisions he has made. However, most of the crap being thrown at him and the republicans here and elsewhere just dosent stick.

He as a president makes decisions. It is interesting how his own party is turning on him. However, it is not about throwing rock but about the people stating what they want from their government
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122. hornfan
4:05 AM GMT on April 28, 2007
If you factor in inflation, gas prices are where they should be. We haven't built any new refineries since the seventies. This issue will die when the dems take office in 08. And it wont be because they did anything about it.

no first, the issue will not die because in America (as well as other places) petro as become a necessity of life (whether we like it or not -- remember that you need oil to make plastics and some fertilizers). Second, although I am not a person to say that the sky is falling. There are limited reserves left in the world. And most are not in advantageous place political. As I said before, it is not a democrat/republican issue -- it is a world issue. The price of gas, including heatin oil, is going to continue to rise. The effect is going to ripple - in order words you are going to pay more for everything that you buy at the store. Goods have to move. Whether by ship, train or truck -- they all use a gas byproduct.

Lastly - on the commodities market - you have people that have never predicted the profits of oil. after the last bust in approximately the late eightys -- alot of the people who actually knew the industry went to other fields. You will see the instability at the first hint of the possibility of a can sneaking into the gulf this season.

The petro problem is a world problem. Also - the refinery problem is a byproduct of the lust for more profits and the demand for lower energy prices that were created in the last bust.
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121. Baybuddy
4:10 AM GMT on April 28, 2007
Also im not downing anyone. I'm tired of rocks being thrown at the president. I have serious problems with some of the decisions he has made. However, most of the crap being thrown at him and the republicans here and elsewhere just dosent stick.
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120. Baybuddy
3:59 AM GMT on April 28, 2007
I agree. The problem is that petro prices have only been an issue lately. If you factor in inflation, gas prices are where they should be. We haven't built any new refineries since the seventies. This issue will die when the dems take office in 08. And it wont be because they did anything about it.
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119. hornfan
3:47 AM GMT on April 28, 2007
Also - when you talk about the stock market - or should I say the commodities market - in the same breath with global warming -- it is an oxymoron.
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118. hornfan
3:42 AM GMT on April 28, 2007
Check out The Presidents Ranch in Crawford Texas. Very efficient and he built it before he was elected. BTW... owning a diverse portfolio is smart investing. You who bash the republicans cannot possibly believe that those rich Democrats dont have petroleum stocks in their portfolios....do you?

Hmm - I am from Midland and I remember where they got their money. It is not a democrats vs republican issue. You really need to look into the oil field history. I grew up through bust and booms. Don't ever down a person for not taking a chance an a future. Also - don't forget that the refinery have to be upgraded very soon - it will effect the stocks.
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117. Baybuddy
3:26 AM GMT on April 28, 2007
Check out The Presidents Ranch in Crawford Texas. Very efficient and he built it before he was elected. BTW... owning a diverse portfolio is smart investing. You who bash the republicans cannot possibly believe that those rich Democrats dont have petroleum stocks in their portfolios....do you?
Gore makes twenty grand or so a year from a zinc mine located on HIS land. Oh by the way, Those carbon credits he buys to offset his usage come from HIS OWN COMPANY. Wake up people.
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Jeff co-founded the Weather Underground in 1995 while working on his Ph.D. He flew with the NOAA Hurricane Hunters from 1986-1990.

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