Tornado Warning

This is on the front page of the Houston Chronicle this morning: Thousands could die if a giant tornado ever hits Houston

Well, sure. Thousands could also die if Houston was hit by a giant meteor, destroyed by a natural gas explosion, or overrun by mutant man-eating fungus. Why is this front-page news? Have they run out of real scare-mongering stories, so now they’re just making up hypothetical ones?

You have to get to the 6th paragraph before they acknowledge that this is unlikely to happen:

“These are indeed unlikely events,” said Joshua Wurman, president of the Center for Severe Weather Research in Boulder, Colo., and lead author of a recent article in Bulletin of the American Meteorological Society on the tornado modeling.

“But I think, given the consequences, it’s prudent for emergency managers to think about what they would do if such a thing happened.”

Such a thing has never happened in Houston. But if it did, it could become the deadliest natural disaster ever to strike Texas, perhaps even eclipsing the 8,000 dead from the Galveston Hurricane of 1900.

I don’t think it’s right that they should focus on hypothetical killer tornadoes. Wouldn’t you rather see hypothetical stories about mutant man-eating fungi destroying Houston? If you were going to make up a story about how thousands of people in your town could die so you could put it on the front page of your hometown newspaper, what story would you make up?