Impact of dual-polarization radar technology and twitter on the hattiesburg, mississippi tornado

Alexis L. Cates, Brent W. Arnold, Guy Paul Cooper, Violet Yeager, Josh Stake, Mohammed Ali, Richard C. Calderone, James Wilkinson, Edbert Hsu, Steven Parrillo, Steven Piper, Italo Subbarao

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

9 Scopus citations


Objective Dual-Polarization Radar and Twitter were analyzed to determine the impact on injuries sustained by the Hattiesburg EF-4 tornado. Method Tracking data provided from the Dual-Pol radar systems in National Weather Service Jackson were reviewed. Twitter data from four local Twitter handles were obtained. The change in tweets and followers for the day of the storm were compared to historical averages. A Student t-test was utilized in determining statistical significance (p<0.05). Medical records from two local emergency departments were reviewed for patients treated up to 24 hours after the tornado. An Injury Severity Score (ISS) was calculated for trauma records related to the tornado. Results Radar detection of the tornado gave approximately 30 minutes of advanced warning time. Statistical significance in follower growth was seen in all four Twitter handles. Out of 50 patients, the average ISS was 3.9 with a range of 1 to 29. There were zero fatalities. Conclusions An ISS average of 3.9 was significantly less than two previous tornadoes of similar strength that occurred prior to increased usage of Dual-pol radar and Twitter as a means for communicating severe weather information. Early detection from Dual-pol radar improved warning time. Tweets informed citizens to seek appropriate shelter.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)585-592
Number of pages8
JournalDisaster medicine and public health preparedness
Issue number6
StatePublished - Dec 2013


  • Disaster technology
  • Emergency preparedness
  • Risk communication
  • Tornadoes
  • Traumatic injury

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health


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