Winds of change: tornado and hurricane impacts on Louisiana forestsThis article is part of a larger document. View the larger document here.
Severe wind events have devastating impacts on forests throughout the United States. Events such as tornadoes and hurricanes can destroy standing timber, produce stresses that impact wood quality, and leave debris that leads to susceptibility to additional impacts. Data for tornado and hurricane occurrences was obtained and the width of these storms calculated using Geographic Information Systems software. The storm tracks were then used to extract impacted forested pixels in Louisiana to determine the acreage impacted, by forest type, within the State. Approximately 238,000 forested acres have been impacted by tornadoes (~3,000 acres per storm), with EF-2 tornadoes impacting the greatest acreage; hurricanes have impacted the State’s forests multiple times, with tropical storm force winds impacting the greatest acreage. These preliminary results will be incorporated with inventory data and damage reports to develop a risk index to forests in Louisiana.