This Needs More Attention

I’ve been a supporter of the new National Bio and Agro-Defense Facility, which will be tasked with keeping agriculture safe from terrorism and other perils, replacing an older facility in New York to a to-be-constructed location near Manhattan, Kansas. It is being chartered by the Department of Homeland Security. Given the interest and expertise we have in the central U.S., it makes sense to have it here.

In the last two days, several newspapers in the region (here is one) have run stories about the facility being “hardened” to withstand 230 mph winds from a tornado.  Given the virulent pathogens that will be kept there, 230 mph is too low, in my opinion. We know that winds in some rare tornadoes can top that figure by a significant margin.

Meteorologist and tornado researcher Dr. John Snow agrees:

“It sounds to me like they (the DHS) are a little low on their wind speeds,” said John T. Snow, [former] dean of the College of Atmospheric and Geographic Sciences at the University of Oklahoma.

I hope the operators of the facility will listen to these concerns.

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