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Stephen M. Strader, PhD - Villanova University. Villanova, PA, US

Stephen M. Strader, PhD

Associate Professor of Geography and the Environment | College of Liberal Arts and Sciences | Villanova University


Stephen Strader, PhD, is an expert on the interaction of climate change, natural hazards, and society.






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The Weather Channel's Geek of the Week (April 2017) Shrinking of polar ice caps (February 2017) Increased storm damage over the next century (May 2017)



Areas of Expertise (5)


Severe Weather

Hazards and Society

Natural Hazards

Geographic Information Systems


Severe weather – tornadoes, hurricanes, hail, wind, blizzards, thunderstorms, floods – cause disruptions to daily life and exact a heavy toll on lives and property. A meteorologist, whose research on tornadoes includes storm chasing in “Tornado Alley” each spring, Dr. Strader is a highly knowledgeable source on all types of severe weather; the effect increasing global temperatures have on the frequency and intensity of storms; as well as the risk and disaster potential of increased population density in storm vulnerable areas. He can also discuss what scientists are working on to improve readiness for and responsiveness to severe weather events.

Education (3)

Northern Illinois University: PhD

Northern Illinois University: MS

Indiana University: BS

Select Accomplishments (2)

Northern Illinois University Sigma Xi graduate student research competition honorable mention (personal)


Northern Illinois University Most Outstanding Master's Thesis Award (personal)


Affiliations (4)

  • American Meteorological Society
  • Association of American Geographers
  • Sigma Xi Scientific Research Society
  • Gamma Theta Upsilon Geography Honor Society

Select Media Appearances (6)

Death in South Amplify Extreme Danger of Manufactured Homes During Severe Weather

The Weather Channel  online


Strader specializes in what he calls "disaster geography," or studying the effects natural disasters like tornadoes have on society and our environment. Most of the manufactured homes in the Southeast exist outside of the typical mobile home parks you would see in other parts of the country. “They're isolated on different plots of land by themselves or maybe with one or two other homes,” Strader said. “What that means is they're 20, 30 minutes away from the nearest shelter. So, if the (tornado) warning is 13 minutes away, and you're 20 minutes away from your shelter, it's the middle of the night. You have two kids, you have to get them out of bed. Your car may not want to start… (things) just start stacking up.”

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Extreme Vulnerability in Mississippi Existed Long Before the Tornado

Forbes  online


However, intensity of the storm is just part of the problem. Many experts (and some of my own research) warn that the vulnerability risk was in place well before the tornado. Villanova professor Stephen Strader hits the nail on the head with the tweet below. His research over the years has sounded the alarm about manufactured, mobile, and other types of homes prevalent in the South.

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Opinion: The Hurricane Problem Florida Could Have Avoided

CNN  online


After hours of battling Hurricane Ian’s high winds, torrential rain and storm surges nearing 12 feet in some locations, residents are left to pick up the pieces. In the hours and days after Ian, the true destruction will be revealed, shedding light on the hardest hit areas. Those residents who did not evacuate are facing life-threatening conditions, while emergency responders deal with an overwhelming volume of calls from those in need of help. Unfortunately, this scene is all too common to the state of Florida.

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Maps Show How Millions of People Have Moved into Hurricane Ian's Path

The Washington Post  online


As Stephen Strader has watched Hurricane Ian barreling toward Florida’s west coast, he cannot stop thinking about all that lies in its path. “What if Hurricane Ian had occurred in 1950? How many people would be affected?” said Strader, a hazards geographer and professor at Villanova University. “Not nearly as many as now. Our built environment is expanding and growing.”

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Our tornado warning system has come a long way, but it could be better

USA Today  online


“Those classic scenes of ‘Wizard of Oz’ — of the tornado dancing in the landscape — have now been replaced with the tornado going through these brand-new subdivisions that are less than 10 years old. And that’s that urban sprawl,” said meteorologist and tornado researcher Stephen Strader of Villanova University in Pennsylvania. Strader recently published a research paper on the challenges meteorologists face in conveying the seriousness of threats. The public doesn’t always grasp what the meteorologists, who are primarily physical scientists, are trying to tell them.

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How We Create Our Catastrophes

The New York Times (op-ed)  


Over the past 167 years, 40 percent of all hurricanes that scored direct hits on the United States struck Florida. So it shouldn’t be surprising that Dorian, the latest storm to emerge from the Atlantic, has drawn a bead on Florida’s east coast. … Dr. Stephen Strader is a hazards geographer and atmospheric scientist at Villanova University.

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Research Grants (2)

Tornadoes and Mobile Homes: An Inter-science Approach to Reducing Vulnerabilities and Improving Capacities for the Southeast’s Most Susceptible Population

National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration 

July 2017, The Verification of the Origins of Rotation Experiment in the Southeast U.S. (VORTEX-SE) Strader, S. M. (Principal), Ashley, W. S. (Co-Principal), Klockow, K. (Co-Prinipal)

Vital Minigrant

Villanova University 

April 2017, Development of Field Exercises and Student Engagement for a New Geography Course on Weather Systems

Select Academic Articles (6)

Spatiotemporal changes in conterminous US wildfire exposure from 1940 to 2010

Natural Hazards: Journal of the International Society for the Prevention and Mitigation of Natural Hazards


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Projected 21st century changes in tornado exposure, risk, and disaster potential

Climate Change


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Observed and projected changes in united states tornado exposure

Weather, Climate, and Society


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A Monte Carlo model for estimating tornado impacts

Meteorological Applications

Strader, S. M., T. Pingel, and W. Ashley


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Recipe for disaster: How the dynamic ingredients of risk and exposure are changing the tornado disaster landscape

Bulletin of the American Meteorological Society


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The expanding bull’s eye effect


Strader, S. M., T. Pingel, and W. Ashley


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