Kansas City Metro Area Storm Shelter Plan
The Mid-America Regional Council working with the Metropolitan Emergency Managers Committee (MEMC) recently prepared a Regional Hazards Mitigation Plan for the Missouri counties in the Kansas City region. From this analysis it was concluded that the natural hazards most threatening to residents of the region are tornadoes and severe winds. The group has recently undertaken an innovative initiative, the Kansas City Metro Area Storm Shelter Plan to mitigate against these threats.
- Development of Model Ordinances
- Prepare model codes and ordinances that area communities could consider to improve access to proper storm shelters in new development.
- Hold series of stakeholder interviews to collect discipline specific information and review analysis.
- Develop a report outlining the legal justification and implications for the model ordinances requiring safe-rooms and/or shelters.
- Duties of Hazard Mitigation Task Group
- Review legal ordinances, the public education program, and the GIS tool to offer discipline-specific feedback.
- Develop a plan for adding safe rooms to vulnerable areas ensuring access to shelter.
- Determine funding options for the construction of storm shelters throughout the community.
- Provide guidance to MARC in planning a series (at least two) of stakeholder and public meetings to address Kansas City Metro Area Storm Shelter Plan concerns.
- Mapping/Data Collection of Vulnerable Populations
The GIS work is intended to provide useful information to local communities on vulnerable neighborhoods and possible shelter locations.
- Phase 1: single family dwellings without basements, mobile home communities and total number of units per community, and hotels/motels and the number of rooms per facility.
- Phase 2: nursing homes, hospitals, daycare facilities, schools, shopping malls, and apartment complexes (location and size/capacity).
- Informing the Public
- Offer a series of informational training sessions that would cater to the needs of the public sector and severe storm protection. Including the distribution of the model ordinances.
Tornado risk in our region
It has also been concluded that residents of the motel and hotel industry, mobile home community, and single family dwellings without basements are at the most significant risk from these storms (Merell, 2005).
These populations are at an even greater risk considering most tornadic activity takes place between 3 p.m. and 9 p.m. (National Weather Service). During this time people have a tendency to be at home, which could be one of the above mentioned facilities.
Wind zone classification
The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) has classified the Kansas City region as in the wind zone IV. This is the highest classification of wind zones and signifies the greatest threat. Wind zone IV translates to a threat of winds up to 250 miles per hour during a severe storm. See wind zones image.
In addition to having a record of strong winds in the region, we tend to have more violent storms on a frequent basis. FEMA has designated the Kansas City region in the highest level for storm intensity per square mile. Please refer to tornado activity image above.
From this information, it is clear that severe storms and tornadoes are a significant threat to the region and worth taking into serious consideration.
For more information, please contact Erin Lynch, MARC Emergency Services Director.