Publication Date


Document Type


First Advisor

Ashley, Walker S.

Degree Name

B.S. (Bachelor of Science)

Legacy Department

Department of Geographic and Atmospheric Sciences


This study investigates tornado fatalities that occurred between sunset and sunrise from 1985 to 2020. Previous literature has suggested that nocturnal tornadoes are associated with enhanced vulnerability because they are difficult to spot and occur when tornado warning efficacy is at a minimum. Furthermore, nocturnal tornadoes tend to occur when a majority of the public is asleep in particularly vulnerable housing and potentially unaware of the threat for severe weather. Results echo previous findings that nocturnal tornadoes are deadly, especially in manufactured housing and in the Southeastern United States. From 1985 to 2020, 36.9% of tornado fatalities occurred at night, with 58% of these fatalities occurring in mobile homes. The vulnerability of these weaker structures is further highlighted, as 57.9% of tornado fatalities occurred in either permanent or mobile homes during the day, while these structures were associated with 87.1% of nocturnal tornado fatalities. Spatial analysis reveals that the Southeastern United States continues to exhibit high tornado fatality rates for both daytime and nocturnal events. These findings reveal that nocturnal tornadoes continue to be a problem in the United States and, if injuries and fatalities from tornadoes are to be reduced, a concerted effort focused on mitigating the effects of these nighttime events is needed.


16 pages




Northern Illinois University

Rights Statement

In Copyright

Rights Statement 2

NIU theses are protected by copyright. They may be viewed from Huskie Commons for any purpose, but reproduction or distribution in any format is prohibited without the written permission of the authors.

Media Type