The majority of surveyed Joplin residents did not immediately go to shelter upon hearing the initial warning, whether from local warning sirens, television, NWR [NOAA weather radio], or other sources.From the National Weather Service’s report on last year’s tornado in Joplin • Detailing how, in severe storm conditions, a big part of safeguarding communities and lives depends on people taking warnings seriously. In one instance, a Joplin resident ignored a slew of warning signals, driving from place to place looking for an open restaurant despite seeing that some were barred against the brewing storm, and hearing tornado warnings throughout town. As a response, the NWS has implementing new, stronger and more frightening vocabulary to be used for high-risk storm alerts, such as “mass devastation,” “complete destruction,” and “not survivable.” We really hope everybody in the Midwest will prioritize their safety over the coming days – authorities anticipate big storms (and likely tornadoes) to roll through Kansas, Oklahoma, and Nebraska later tonight. source (via • follow)
» And this is where the numbers really get confusing: With two different organizations — the state of Missouri and the city of Joplin — reporting two different official death toll figures (126 and 132, respectively), and around 19 of the missing identified as victims on the list of those accounted for, you’d be forgiven for being a bit confused by all these numbers. Let’s simplify it for you: It was a lot of people, and those still alive have a lot to recover from.
Our goal is to get that number to zero. We will dedicate as much state resources as needed around the clock to ensure those family who have loved ones that they cannot find are connected.Missouri Department of Public Safety Deputy Director Andrea Spillars • Describing the group’s goal to whittle down the list of 232 missing people in Joplin — some of whom are amongst the 126 killed in Sunday’s storm, but perhaps haven’t been identified. Others may remain missing, but others still may have skipped town without informing friend and relatives of their departure. Let’s hope it’s the latter. source (via • follow)
Another crushingly sad tale from the Joplin storm: After a 54-year-old woman found out on Tuesday that her father died in Sunday’s incredibly tragic tornado in the Missouri town, she had a heart attack and later died. The woman, a schoolteacher, lived in a nearby town and attended church in the city of 50,000. Despite the fact that she wasn’t killed in the storm itself, the coroner says that they will consider her death a storm-related casualty. Such a gut punch. Officials in the city plan to continue searching for those missing, combing over areas they’ve covered as many as three times already — all in the hopes of finding a survivor in the rubble. Hold out hope. source
» A particularly deadly year for natural disasters: Before April, the weather was relatively calm, but then strong storms in the South and Plains states — complete with tornadoes and flooding — started hitting fast and furious. And with 482 killed by this year’s storms already, it’s been a year filled with heartbreak already.
At the moment it’s surreal, our landmarks are gone — road signs, places where you know to turn — we’re doing search and rescue, going house to house on that six mile strip.Joplin emergency management director Keith Stammer • Describing the situation in his town this morning. While he notes that all of the alarms went off and gave 20-minute notice of the quickly-approaching storm, it clearly wasn’t enough to protect people from a supremely devastating tornado. It was one of 47 that the storm system produced in the region yesterday — and by far the worst. source (via • follow)
» President Obama, reporting from Ireland: After the massive storm ravaged the Missouri town, the president, heading to Ireland to play diplomat, called Missouri Gov. Jay Nixon and coordinated the FEMA response from Air Force One. Nixon declared a state of emergency and activated the Missouri National Guard in response the the storm, which devastated a town of 49,000.