The National Weather Service hopes some good can come from the Joplin tornado. A team of experts is assessing how people reacted to the warnings. Warning Coordination Meteorologist Steve Runnels has been assessing tornado damage for more than 20 years with the National Weather Service, and says Joplin is the worst he’s seen.
He’ll be working with National Weather Service experts from Detroit, Texas and Ohio, who will be talking to victims, local emergency management officials, fire departments and the media to see how people reacted to the warnings. A social scientist is joining the team to get a better feel for people’s thoughts and behavior. The team will be in Springfield and Joplin all week.
Runnels says Joplin residents had just at 24 minutes to take cover… that’s when it touched down and struck St. John’s Hospital in Southwest Joplin. He says it stayed on the ground for up to 40 minutes after that.
Runnels says there are three groups of people — those who always take cover when warned, those who never take cover no matter what, and those in the middle who might or might not. He says those in the middle are the ones the Weather Service wants to focus on.