Weather expert: Proposed biolab riskier in Texas than Kansas

A proposed Texas site for a national bio-security lab carries greater tornado risk than the chosen site at Kansas State University in Manhattan, the founder of a weather company says.

Backers of a site in San Antonio have criticized the selection of Manhattan as being in Tornado Alley. Members of the Kansas congressional delegation fired back, saying the county that includes San Antonio has far more tornado touchdowns than Riley County, which includes Manhattan.

So he decided to look at the numbers behind the "tornado tussle," said Mike Smith, founder and CEO of Wichita-based WeatherData Services Inc., a subsidiary of AccuWeather.

The $500 million National Bio and Agro-Defense lab would study infectious pathogens such as foot-and-mouth disease.

When looking at the risk of people being exposed if a deadly substance were released after tornado damage, two things must be considered, Smith said: the number of tornadoes and the number of people.

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