Saving Lives in the Path of Destructive Tornadoes





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Published on Apr 2, 2012

Thursday, March 29, 2012
2168 Rayburn Building - The Gold Room - Washington, D.C.
11:30 a.m. - 1:00 p.m.

On the late afternoon of Sunday, May 22, 2011, a Level 5 tornado struck the town of Joplin, Missouri, wreaking unimaginable havoc and leading to over 250 deaths, more than 990 individuals injured, total destruction of thousands of houses, and severe damage to businesses, a major medical center, and schools. It was only the second to last major tornado outbreak in a record 2011 season that in all caused nearly $25 billion in damage and 552 fatalities. The 2012 tornado season is once again off to an early and explosive start, as deadly tornadoes ripped through Indiana, Kentucky, Alabama, and many other states on March 2, resulting in more deaths and the essential leveling of towns.

What can we make of the recent spate of tornadoes in the American South and Heartland? Are Americans getting the best information to make life-saving decisions, and can more lives be saved? And why are the residents of rural communities like Joplin so vulnerable to these storms? The latest research in atmospheric sciences and related social sciences is leading to developments that can save more lives. Join us for a briefing featuring information on NOAA's Warn on Forecast Program that could transform the tornado warning system and significantly improve tornado warning lead times, a first-hand account of technology that worked in Joplin and strategies for future improved preparation, and information on how we can most effectively respond to imminent severe weather and, when it strikes, better deal with the human response.


Veronica Johnson, Broadcast Meteorologist, NBC4 Washington (Moderator)

Dr. David Stensrud, Chief, Forecast Research and Development Division, National Severe Storms Laboratory

Keith Stammer, Director, Emergency Management Division, Joplin County, Mo.

Julie DeMuth, Scientist, Societal Impacts Program, National Center for Atmospheric Research


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