Jeff has been storm chasing for like 35 years. On his Joplin DVD, it shows them following the parent supercell across KS into MO (which was north of Joplin) and it was pretty ragged and not producing much so they went farther south. They also followed just behind the tornado until they couldn't go any farther due to damage, it was then they pulled down Iowa street and started search and rescue.
On the vid, they black part of it out when he is pulling someone from a house, and there's another part where a lady comes and tells him that 'there's a dead man over there'. He tells her he knows and that there's nothing they can do for him, they just have to help the survivors. He was also making phone calls to the Tulsa NWS to tell them to relay information and get as much help to Joplin as possible. When help doesn't arrive, they go and look for help and find a Carthage Fire Department truck down the road, and they bring them back down that street to start search and rescue farther down the block.
Despite it being 11 months since the tornado I still remember it like it was yesterday.
The HRRR did really well on this day. It doesn't always get things right though. I remember I was looking at it before the tornado and saw that it was developing additional storms across SE KS, NE OK. I thought at the time, these storms would interefere with the big main supercell so I expected a 'cluster' of thunderstorms with high winds, hail and heavy rain. I actually felt a bit better when I saw those additional cells developing on the HRRR. Nothing really different from what we get all the time anyway. I went outside and started moving some of the lawn ornaments and stuff up closer to the house so they wouldn't blow away or get damaged. I never really expected the tornado though. In fact, just 10 days earlier on May 12th there was a storm that showed signs of rotation just west of here. I actually saw it but it was elevated and it had the look of a mesocyclone that was collapsing. It didn't produce anything as it moved to basically the NW of Joplin.
I did notice one thing that did freak me out though on the HRRR other than the crazy helicity, both the LFC and LCL height was the same and it was very low in a very localized area along I-44 from Joplin on a bit northeast. This meant that pretty much any storm would be surface based and low to the ground.
Once the parent supercell that had been in SE KS produced an outflow boundary, and the new strong updrafts in NE OK/SE KS latched on, Joplin's goose was cooked.
So some good signs were on the HRRR but not the whole package I assume. The other thing I have noticed is that sig. tornadoes have affected some portion of the Joplin metro area not only in 2011 but also in 2003 and in 1971. Three times in forty years sure seems like an awful lot. I would imagine there have been numerous other funnel clouds and a few F0s in the mix as well over the years.