As fall 2017’s devastating hurricanes have demonstrated, mobile home residents face special challenges in preparing for, responding to and recovering from tornados and other wind hazards. Stephen M. Strader, PhD, assistant professor in the Department of Geography and the Environment in Villanova University’s College of Liberal Arts and Sciences, has been named principal investigator on a National Oceanic Atmospheric Administration grant, “Mobile Homes: An Inter-science Approach to Reducing Vulnerabilities and Improving Capacities for the Southeast's Most Susceptible Population.” Of the $245,769 grant, $145,000 was awarded directly to Villanova.
Dr. Strader is an expert on the interaction of climate change, natural hazards and society. A meteorologist whose research includes storm chasing in “Tornado Alley” each spring, Dr. Strader is highly knowledgeable on all types of severe weather, the effect that increasing global temperatures have on the frequency and intensity of storms, as well as the risk and disaster potential of increased population density in storm-vulnerable areas.
A primary reason for the excessive tornado death and injury rates in the southeastern U.S. is the region’s growing mobile home prevalence. Residents in this housing stock have an acute vulnerability to tornadoes that can cause devastating consequences.
Dr. Strader explains: “To address this important problem, we will explore mobile home distribution and the adaptive capacity of mobile home residents living in various settings, coupling this analysis with the socioeconomic vulnerabilities of these residents, to better understand tornado disaster impacts and strategies for overcoming them,” he says.
Dr. Strader and his research have been featured in Scientific American, The Philadelphia Inquirer, USA Today and Forbes, as well as academic journals including Climatic Change.