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Devastating tornado strikes Joplin, Missouri


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The spotter reported it 6 miles NE of Galena moving NE at 45 mph at 5:38 LT.

The the first issuance of the Joplin tor was based on radar at 5:17 LT.

According to the book it was not corrected - that they did issue a new statement but continued to center in on the Galena storm/location.

And to be clear - I don't know the facts - just telling you what the book says.

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The spotter reported it 6 miles NE of Galena moving NE at 45 mph at 5:42 LT.

The the first issuance of the Joplin tor was based on radar at 5:17 LT.

I said my only complaint was the messed up SVS statement that put the tornado where there wasn't one. They indicated the tornado was 6 miles NE of Galena, which would have been too far north. You can see Galena on the map and the track was NOT NE of Galena.

http://www.crh.noaa.gov/sgf/?n=event_2011may22_summary

I have no idea what Mr. Smith is talking about when they issued the earlier warnings and about Riverton or whatever. I also don't know what he meant about the actual time it touched down. It was pretty much on the western edge of the city when it touched down. There was maybe 1-2 minutes before it started hitting parts of Joplin.

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According to the book it was not corrected - that they did issue a new statement but continued to center in on the Galena storm/location.

And to be clear - I don't know the facts - just telling you what the book says.

What wasn't corrected? The northern storm was a different storm altogether.

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On page 23 of the book - Mike says -

Begin - from the book:

At 5:39, even though the tornado was on Joplin's doorstep, the NWS wrote, "At 5:34 p.m., trained weather spotters reported a tornado near Galena (emphasis added by Mike in the book)...moving east at 25 mph. This storm is moving into the city of Joplin." Although Galena was old news, the statement "this storm is moving into the city of Joplin" was correct. But, by saying "near Galena" they misled people in west Joplin into thinking they had more time than they actually had.

Unfortunately, just three minutes later, the NWS contradicted its own statement with a confusing and factually inaccurate "severe weather statement," in which I've emphasized a crucial two words:

At 5:38 p.m., trained spotters reported a tornado near Joplin or 6 miles northeast of Galena, moving northeast at 45 mph:

End of passage from the book.

------

That is exactly what he said - the above - from the book.

He says the media was then further confused and were visibly confused on air. He also says that local residents said the NWS kept saying Galena and they thought they were out of danger in Joplin. This is what Mike is saying in his book.

He also says that radio stations were repeating what the NWS was saying - confusing people further.

Bottom line is that the book states people were very confused by the NWS.

Again - I am just telling you what the book says and these are not my opinions. To be clear. :) The book repeatedly says that their private service was accurate and that the NWS was inaccurate. It is the most severe and critical criticism of the NWS that I have ever seen in print.

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Bottom line is that the book states people were very confused by the NWS.

I'm pretty sure Mike and the media were confused. There were two different storms issued for separately. I suspose it was unfortunate they were in close proximity to each other spatially and temporally. But nonetheless, there were separate defining warnings for each storm

At 509 LT, a warning (VTEC 30) went out for the nrn storm, while the Joplin storm (VTEC 31) was still developing on the SW flank.

post-866-0-93765400-1337736582_thumb.jpg

At 517 LT, the warning (VTEC 31) went out for the Joplin storm.

post-866-0-02114100-1337736599_thumb.jpg

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I'm pretty sure Mike and the media were confused. There were two different storms issued for separately. I suspose it was unfortunate they were in close proximity to each other spatially and temporally. But nonetheless, there were separate defining warnings for each storm

At 509 LT, a warning (VTEC 30) went out for the nrn storm, while the Joplin storm (VTEC 31) was still developing on the SW flank.

post-866-0-93765400-1337736582_thumb.jpg

At 517 LT, the warning (VTEC 31) went out for the Joplin storm.

post-866-0-02114100-1337736599_thumb.jpg

Yes, I remember that during the event - we were discussing it in the forums. I think a lot of people among our group realized the risk for confusion was high. Thus the nature of multiple tornado warnings.

I think some in the media were caught off-guard by the extreme nature of the tornado - as mentioned also on WeatherBrains the other week. Developed fast - grew in size and intensity fast - sirens sounded county wide for the first storm - confusion over the second storm - media focused on storm A instead of A and B. It was an episode of "It Could Happen Tomorrow"

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Yes, it was a confusing situation. At around 5:20, there were 3 areas of rotation, although the one north of these two had become really broad and diffuse.

2012-05-22_205108.gif

By 5:29, the tornado still had not touched down but you can see the couplet really tightening up east of Galena.

2012-05-22_205627.gif

By 5:38-5:39 the tornado was located in Joplin (Iron Gates is Joplin) The location of it at this time is marked by the pink dot.

2012-05-22_210634.gif

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I'm pretty sure Mike and the media were confused. There were two different storms issued for separately. I suspose it was unfortunate they were in close proximity to each other spatially and temporally. But nonetheless, there were separate defining warnings for each storm

At 509 LT, a warning (VTEC 30) went out for the nrn storm, while the Joplin storm (VTEC 31) was still developing on the SW flank.

post-866-0-93765400-1337736582_thumb.jpg

At 517 LT, the warning (VTEC 31) went out for the Joplin storm.

post-866-0-02114100-1337736599_thumb.jpg

Also, if you go back to the 2nd page of this thread (post 45) you find a poster that quoted JoMo's last few posts before the storm hit.. the second of which saying about the sirens going off. TIme on that post was 5:17 CDT, right at the time of the warning (VTEC31) issuance. 10 minutes later was his last post about the couplet being nearly overhead.

Whatever happened to that particular thread (or portion of this thread) where people were posting as the storm was unfolding? I seem to remember that folks might've been watching that first warned cell when the Joplin cell suddenly exploded into the monster tornado signature just outside of town. There's of course those couple chaser videos that show this tornado going from a developing multiple vortice to a massive wedge in about the time it takes for the doppler to make one scan. I know that's one of the many aspects of this storm that fascinates me..practically watching the whole wall cloud drop to the ground in a minute or two.

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Re: the tornado warnings on that day...Judge for yourself....

Tornado Warning #30 for western/nrn sides of Joplin:

509 PM CDT SUN MAY 22 2011

THE NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE IN SPRINGFIELD HAS ISSUED A

* TORNADO WARNING FOR...

WESTERN JASPER COUNTY IN SOUTHWEST MISSOURI...

* UNTIL 600 PM CDT.

* AT 505 PM CDT...NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE DOPPLER RADAR INDICATED A

TORNADO 10 MILES WEST OF CARL JUNCTION...OR 6 MILES EAST OF

COLUMBUS...MOVING EAST AT 30 MPH. THIS STORM HAS A HISTORY OF

PRODUCING FUNNEL CLOUDS AND TENNIS BALL SIZE HAIL.

* LOCATIONS IMPACTED INCLUDE AIRPORT DRIVE...ALBA...ASBURY...ATLAS...

BROOKLYN HEIGHTS...CARL JUNCTION...CARTERVILLE...LAKESIDE...NECK

CITY...NORTHEASTERN JOPLIN...OAKLAND PARK...ORONOGO...PURCELL...

WACO AND WEBB CITY.

#31, for srn sides of Joplin:

517 PM CDT SUN MAY 22 2011

THE NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE IN SPRINGFIELD HAS ISSUED A

* TORNADO WARNING FOR...

NORTHWESTERN NEWTON COUNTY IN SOUTHWEST MISSOURI...

SOUTHEASTERN CHEROKEE COUNTY IN SOUTHEAST KANSAS...

SOUTHWESTERN JASPER COUNTY IN SOUTHWEST MISSOURI...

* UNTIL 600 PM CDT.

* AT 514 PM CDT...NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE DOPPLER RADAR INDICATED A

TORNADO NEAR RIVERTON...OR 4 MILES NORTH OF BAXTER SPRINGS...MOVING

NORTHEAST AT 40 MPH.

* LOCATIONS IMPACTED INCLUDE BAXTER SPRINGS...CLIFF VILLAGE...DENNIS

ACRES...DIAMOND...DUENWEG...DUQUESNE...FIDELITY...GALENA...IRON

GATES...JOPLIN...LEAWOOD...LOWELL...REDINGS MILL...RIVERTON...

SAGINAW...SHOAL CREEK DRIVE...SHOAL CREEK ESTATES...SHOAL CREEK

ESTATE AND SILVER CREEK.

1st Follow-up SVS for the second TOR:

530 PM CDT SUN MAY 22 2011

...A TORNADO WARNING REMAINS IN EFFECT UNTIL 600 PM CDT FOR

NORTHWESTERN NEWTON...SOUTHWESTERN JASPER AND SOUTHEASTERN CHEROKEE

COUNTIES...

AT 524 PM CDT...NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE DOPPLER RADAR CONTINUED TO

INDICATE A TORNADO NEAR RIVERTON...OR NEAR GALENA...MOVING EAST AT 20

MPH. THIS STORM HAS AS HISTORY OF PRODUCING A FUNNEL CLOUD IN

RIVERTON KANSAS.

LOCATIONS IMPACTED INCLUDE CLIFF VILLAGE...DENNIS ACRES...DIAMOND...

DUENWEG...DUQUESNE...FIDELITY...GALENA...IRON GATES...JOPLIN...

LEAWOOD...LOWELL...REDINGS MILL...RIVERTON...SAGINAW...SHOAL CREEK

DRIVE...SHOAL CREEK ESTATES...SHOAL CREEK ESTATE AND SILVER CREEK.

2nd SVS:

539 PM CDT SUN MAY 22 2011

...A TORNADO WARNING REMAINS IN EFFECT UNTIL 600 PM CDT FOR

NORTHWESTERN NEWTON...SOUTHWESTERN JASPER AND SOUTHEASTERN CHEROKEE

COUNTIES...

AT 534 PM CDT...TRAINED WEATHER SPOTTERS REPORTED A TORNADO NEAR

GALENA...MOVING EAST AT 25 MPH. THIS STORM IS MOVING INTO THE CITY

OF JOPLIN.

LOCATIONS IMPACTED INCLUDE CLIFF VILLAGE...DENNIS ACRES...DIAMOND...

DUENWEG...DUQUESNE...FIDELITY...GALENA...IRON GATES...JOPLIN...

LEAWOOD...LOWELL...REDINGS MILL...RIVERTON...SAGINAW...SHOAL CREEK

DRIVE...SHOAL CREEK ESTATES...SHOAL CREEK ESTATE AND SILVER CREEK.

3rd SVS, for both storms:

542 PM CDT SUN MAY 22 2011

...A TORNADO WARNING REMAINS IN EFFECT UNTIL 600 PM CDT FOR CENTRAL

JASPER COUNTY...

...A TORNADO WARNING ALSO REMAINS IN EFFECT UNTIL FOR NORTHERN

NEWTON...SOUTHEAST CHEROKEE COUNTY...AND SOUTHERN JASPER COUNTIES...

AT 538 PM CDT...TRAINED WEATHER SPOTTERS REPORTED A TORNADO NEAR

JOPLIN...OR 6 MILES NORTHEAST OF GALENA...MOVING NORTHEAST AT 45 MPH.

LOCATIONS IMPACTED INCLUDE AIRPORT DRIVE...ALBA...ATLAS...BROOKLYN

HEIGHTS...CARL JUNCTION...CARTERVILLE...LAKESIDE...NECK CITY...

NORTHEASTERN JOPLIN...OAKLAND PARK...ORONOGO...PURCELL AND WEBB CITY.

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Re: the tornado warnings on that day...Judge for yourself....

3rd SVS, for both storms:

542 PM CDT SUN MAY 22 2011

...A TORNADO WARNING REMAINS IN EFFECT UNTIL 600 PM CDT FOR CENTRAL

JASPER COUNTY...

...A TORNADO WARNING ALSO REMAINS IN EFFECT UNTIL FOR NORTHERN

NEWTON...SOUTHEAST CHEROKEE COUNTY...AND SOUTHERN JASPER COUNTIES...

AT 538 PM CDT...TRAINED WEATHER SPOTTERS REPORTED A TORNADO NEAR

JOPLIN...OR 6 MILES NORTHEAST OF GALENA...MOVING NORTHEAST AT 45 MPH.

LOCATIONS IMPACTED INCLUDE AIRPORT DRIVE...ALBA...ATLAS...BROOKLYN

HEIGHTS...CARL JUNCTION...CARTERVILLE...LAKESIDE...NECK CITY...

NORTHEASTERN JOPLIN...OAKLAND PARK...ORONOGO...PURCELL AND WEBB CITY.

Yep, that was the mistake. The tornado was not 6 miles NE of Galena and it was not moving NE at 45. The area was in the polygon either way, just the SVS statement was incorrect. I think the next tornado warning was issued at 5:48.

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My take on this.

1) SW side of Joplin/Iron Gates had had minimum 15-20 min lead time, using the 5:38 PM radar image posted above and the fact the relevant TOR was issued at 5:17.

2) The first relevant TOR indicated that the storm was moving NE, which was ultimately incorrect, however while the storm was still in its fledgling stage this may have been a valid extrapolation of the motion. In their formation stages, supercells often move with the mean wind at a rapid clip, before sharply turning right and slowing down as the updraft matures (but not always!). So, until we are more sure with our science, and given the software that's in use, extrapolated motion's the best we got. Of course everything is clearer in hindsight.

3) The SVS's correct the initial TORs and give a correct heading -- except for the last one.

3) The cities impacted -- Iron Gates, Joplin, and Duquesne, are mentioned in every SVS as well as the initial relevant TOR -- except for the last one WRT Duquesne.

4) I agree that there is this (dare I say it?) --myth-- about the tornado forming right over town. There was a good chunk of time between spotter confirmation and tornado doing damage in Joplin. I think by the second SVS, a tornado emergency may have been justified, given the confirmation and the statement that the tornado was in fact moving straight into town.

So the only thing I would have a beef with is SGF's 5:42 SVS, but by then the tornado was over the city and doing damage so it doesn't really matter as much. I also agree that the proximity of the two TORs may have confused media. Many things could've been done better, but the warning system hardly 'failed' Joplin.

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TRAINED WEATHER SPOTTERS REPORTED A TORNADO NEAR

JOPLIN...OR 6 MILES NORTHEAST OF GALENA...MOVING NORTHEAST AT 45 MPH.

LOCATIONS IMPACTED INCLUDE AIRPORT DRIVE...ALBA...ATLAS...BROOKLYN

HEIGHTS...CARL JUNCTION...CARTERVILLE...LAKESIDE...NECK CITY...

NORTHEASTERN JOPLIN...OAKLAND PARK...ORONOGO...PURCELL AND WEBB CITY.

I think there is the issue - brought up in the book.

That does not mesh.

If the tornado was 6 miles northeast of Galena and moving northeast then the tornado would not have hit Joplin or at least southern Joplin. On that track it would have taken the tornado north of Joplin - or most of Joplin.

This raises the question - was it a mistake? Were they playing the odds on where the tornado was located based on radar and conflicting other reports? The storm evolved so fast that they did not know what was going on? They had spotter reports indicating a tornado in an area that their radar wasn't even showing the tornado - yet?

I don't know what was going on.

If spotters reported the tornado near Joplin - did the NWS believe them on the location? Did someone assume that the spotter was wrong and the tornado was actually further north (or according to that statement - 6 miles northeast of Galena)

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Yep, that was the mistake. The tornado was not 6 miles NE of Galena and it was not moving NE at 45. The area was in the polygon either way, just the SVS statement was incorrect. I think the next tornado warning was issued at 5:48.

And this is apparently where the confusion was - on-air mets and radio rip and read were telling people the wrong area.

I guess the next question is how many residents heard the wrong information and thought "that is not near me - I am safe"

We will never know. According to the book some people interviewed said they kept talking about Galena and they felt safe in southern Joplin.

Someone with a radar should have caught the mistake. Private meteorologists - on-air television meteorologists - others. We knew this was an error on the forum - or we at least knew Joplin was in serious trouble. Why didn't others know this? Was it because they were too busy covering the storm - weekend - not enough staff?

Had this been in Oklahoma City then I can almost guarantee you that the on-air mets would have caught it. They have their own radars - they would have been able to see that the storm was forming and moving east into the part of Joplin that was hit.

Do any stations in the Joplin region have their own radar equipment - Barron or other?

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This raises the question - was it a mistake? Were they playing the odds on where the tornado was located based on radar and conflicting other reports? The storm evolved so fast that they did not know what was going on? They had spotter reports indicating a tornado in an area that their radar wasn't even showing the tornado - yet?

I don't know what was going on.

If spotters reported the tornado near Joplin - did the NWS believe them on the location? Did someone assume that the spotter was wrong and the tornado was actually further north (or according to that statement - 6 miles northeast of Galena)

I doubt that's it. It's hard to go against 200 kt couplet with debris ball. My thinking is the forecaster put the location as "Joplin" in AWIPS, which spat out an alternate location of "6 NE Galena". The Downtown Joplin *dot* is in fact north and east of the central Galena *dot*, and that's all that AWIPS has. In the whole confusion during that time, and dealing with multiple TORs in close proximity, the forecaster(s) may have not paid as much attention to that error, or they may have felt it would take to long to correct, given the urgency of the situation.

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I doubt that's it. It's hard to go against 200 kt couplet with debris ball. My thinking is the forecaster put the location as "Joplin" in AWIPS, which spat out an alternate location of "6 NE Galena". The Downtown Joplin *dot* is in fact north and east of the central Galena *dot*, and that's all that AWIPS has. In the whole confusion during that time, and dealing with multiple TORs in close proximity, the forecaster(s) may have not paid as much attention to that error, or they may have felt it would take to long to correct, given the urgency of the situation.

I think that is what happened. If you take off the 6 miles NE of Galena, other than the incorrect heading and speed, it makes more sense.

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My take on this.

1) SW side of Joplin/Iron Gates had had minimum 15-20 min lead time, using the 5:38 PM radar image posted above and the fact the relevant TOR was issued at 5:17.

2) The first relevant TOR indicated that the storm was moving NE, which was ultimately incorrect, however while the storm was still in its fledgling stage this may have been a valid extrapolation of the motion. In their formation stages, supercells often move with the mean wind at a rapid clip, before sharply turning right and slowing down as the updraft matures (but not always!). So, until we are more sure with our science, and given the software that's in use, extrapolated motion's the best we got. Of course everything is clearer in hindsight.

3) The SVS's correct the initial TORs and give a correct heading -- except for the last one.

3) The cities impacted -- Iron Gates, Joplin, and Duquesne, are mentioned in every SVS as well as the initial relevant TOR -- except for the last one WRT Duquesne.

4) I agree that there is this (dare I say it?) --myth-- about the tornado forming right over town. There was a good chunk of time between spotter confirmation and tornado doing damage in Joplin. I think by the second SVS, a tornado emergency may have been justified, given the confirmation and the statement that the tornado was in fact moving straight into town.

So the only thing I would have a beef with is SGF's 5:42 SVS, but by then the tornado was over the city and doing damage so it doesn't really matter as much. I also agree that the proximity of the two TORs may have confused media. Many things could've been done better, but the warning system hardly 'failed' Joplin.

I don't disagree with your assessment after the fact. My concern is that people were not reading the warnings. Who do we know that reads tornado warnings? They were likely going on what the on-air people were saying (and according to Mikes book) the radar stations were telling them. They were not telling them that they were in danger.

It is obvious - after seeing the warnings/svs - that there was a lot of confusion. Mike is likely correct on that subject. I think there may have been more confusion than some of us from outside the region realize. This is because of the on-air meteorologists and radio broadcasters reading the warnings and not checking their own radars for verification of what the NWS was saying.

Mike even goes as far to say that the on-air mets didn't even realize they were looking at a tornado on their tower cam - they thought some of the power flashes were lightning. It wasn't until it was too late that they realized they were looking at a very large tornado hitting their city.

Was a tornado emergency issued? I don't remember. I remember being in chat that day and telling them that there was a lot of damage being reported - also reported some baseball size hail. Mike says - implies or says - that hail was never a concern and that baseball size hail never occurred.

I remember making a report to their office of baseball size hail somewhere north of Jomo. Do not remember exactly where - but it the report was made. Of course nobody cared about the hail at that point - it was too late.

Mike also has some eye witness accounts that told him they felt the main concern for Joplin was hail and this was based on what the media was saying.

I should pull up the logs from that day and see what was being said in the room.

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I doubt that's it. It's hard to go against 200 kt couplet with debris ball. My thinking is the forecaster put the location as "Joplin" in AWIPS, which spat out an alternate location of "6 NE Galena". The Downtown Joplin *dot* is in fact north and east of the central Galena *dot*, and that's all that AWIPS has. In the whole confusion during that time, and dealing with multiple TORs in close proximity, the forecaster(s) may have not paid as much attention to that error, or they may have felt it would take to long to correct, given the urgency of the situation.

This is a problem. I hope this issue has been addressed within the NWS. I am a bit alarmed by the incident a few weeks ago in my local area - afternoon reading your comments and this book. If a computer is spitting out these names and errors and the NWS isn't "catching it" - then we have a problem.

I don't know if this is a bigger issue or not. It is a question worth discussing. Surely the NWS can correct the storm movement based on what they were seeing. Or - perhaps in this case - it was simply just a bad error.

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And this is apparently where the confusion was - on-air mets and radio rip and read were telling people the wrong area.

I guess the next question is how many residents heard the wrong information and thought "that is not near me - I am safe"

We will never know. According to the book some people interviewed said they kept talking about Galena and they felt safe in southern Joplin.

Someone with a radar should have caught the mistake. Private meteorologists - on-air television meteorologists - others. We knew this was an error on the forum - or we at least knew Joplin was in serious trouble. Why didn't others know this? Was it because they were too busy covering the storm - weekend - not enough staff?

Had this been in Oklahoma City then I can almost guarantee you that the on-air mets would have caught it. They have their own radars - they would have been able to see that the storm was forming and moving east into the part of Joplin that was hit.

Do any stations in the Joplin region have their own radar equipment - Barron or other?

The radio was also giving public reports that they were getting in. One report indicated the tornado was at 7th and Rangeline. That report was incorrect and may have resulted in people heading south away from that area towards the Home Depot at 20th and Rangeline which was ultimately destroyed.

If the NWS says Galena moving NE, most people in southern Joplin feel safe as it would be moving away from them.

Doug Heady (Joplinmet) doesn't pay a lot of attention to the NWS warnings, and he was circling the area of rotation which was nearly over me, so he had the correct location when he went on air on KOAM either a few minutes before, or right as the tornado was touching down. They have a tower cam at 7th and Rangeline but they were unable to see the actual tornado until it was near that location due to it being wrapped in rain.

Mr. Smith may have been referring to the KSN telecast. You can clearly see power flashes and the tornado on the ground as the video starts. They don't seem to catch on that it's a tornado on the ground until about 30 seconds or so into the video. Jeremiah Cook (weekend weather guy) and Catilyn McCardel (weekend meteorologist) were the two on the video.

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Re: the whole issue with Galena. From what I've read, it takes a few minutes to generate a warning. The forecasters were probably still writing the warning when the 5:38 scan came out. Notice that there were only three minutes between the 2nd (5:39) and 3rd (5:42) SVS's. This may be due to the fact that the forecasters noticed that the couplet was closer to Joplin than it was to Galena. I think the important part is that the 5:39 SVS mentions the tornado is moving into Joplin. That should be enough to sound any on-air met's alarms. Furthermore, on-air mets should check the radars themselves and know what's going on. I haven't read the book, but again the title of it implies the warning system failed, which, IMO, it did not.

There was not a single tornado emergency issued -- the SVS's I posted were all the ones associated with Tornado Warning #31.

I think, in general, the timescales associated with this particular event (i.e. the time of evolution from doppler-warned to confirmed to particularly dangerous tornado) were much shorter than average, shorter than the radar period or warning-writing timescale.

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Not sure the DOC allows me to post the logs - I have them. Just not sure if I can post them or not? They are interesting because they show a lot of communication about what is happening to the City of Joplin and before Joplin. From the logs there appears to a lot less confusion as to what is/was going on - at least when you compare then to the statements that were actually put out by the NWS for the public.

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Re: the whole issue with Galena. From what I've read, it takes a few minutes to generate a warning. The forecasters were probably still writing the warning when the 5:38 scan came out. Notice that there were only three minutes between the 2nd (5:39) and 3rd (5:42) SVS's. This may be due to the fact that the forecasters noticed that the couplet was closer to Joplin than it was to Galena. I think the important part is that the 5:39 SVS mentions the tornado is moving into Joplin. That should be enough to sound any on-air met's alarms. Furthermore, on-air mets should check the radars themselves and know what's going on. I haven't read the book, but again the title of it implies the warning system failed, which, IMO, it did not.

There was not a single tornado emergency issued -- the SVS's I posted were all the ones associated with Tornado Warning #31.

I think, in general, the timescales associated with this particular event (i.e. the time of evolution from doppler-warned to confirmed to particularly dangerous tornado) were much shorter than average, shorter than the radar period or warning-writing timescale.

I am not sure a tornado emergency would have mattered. Maybe for the on-air people? Unsure. We will never know.

Of course now we have the new warning system = Springfield is one of the offices using the new terminology that attempts to predict how much damage a tornado will or won't do. It would not have mattered in this event. It was too late - not to mention that I don't think hey had enough time.

I have seen some meteorologists that focus on "their idea" of where a storm should track and if radar is showing something different they still seem to not catch on. In school this is called tunnel-vision. I said it must be going northeast and it must be heading to town A B and C. By the time you realize it isn't happening as you expected then it is too late. Not saying that is what happened here - but the evidence stacked up by Mike in his book does suggest that concept. At least as a potential.

It is too bad there was such a delay in the tilt scans. Had they had the phased array radar then this would have likely ended a lot differently. This is where local radars - owned by television stations - can be of some value. It is too bad the NWS can't zero in on a storm and get faster updates.

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I doubt that's it. It's hard to go against 200 kt couplet with debris ball. My thinking is the forecaster put the location as "Joplin" in AWIPS, which spat out an alternate location of "6 NE Galena". The Downtown Joplin *dot* is in fact north and east of the central Galena *dot*, and that's all that AWIPS has. In the whole confusion during that time, and dealing with multiple TORs in close proximity, the forecaster(s) may have not paid as much attention to that error, or they may have felt it would take to long to correct, given the urgency of the situation.

I just double checked. It is 6 miles (more east instead of NE though) from the center of Galena to the center of Joplin. You've cracked the case.

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The inability for humans to accept that, sometimes, life sucks and **** happens is at play more in this case than any other I can remember.

If is funny you should say that - because :)

One of the NWS meteorologists, from the St Louis, Missouri - National Weather Service Office, did a presentation (last fall - at the big NWA conference) in Birmingham, Alabama on their EF4 tornado event. She said that the reasons there were not more fatalities in the EF4 St Louis tornado was - wait for it and drum roll - LUCK

She had a list - but LUCK was, if I remember correctly, number 5 on the list.

This is what was on her slide presentation

post-77-0-84141900-1337746644_thumb.jpg

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If is funny you should say that - because :)

One of the NWS meteorologists, from the St Louis, Missouri - National Weather Service Office, did a presentation (last fall - at the big NWA conference) in Birmingham, Alabama on their EF4 tornado event.  She said that the reasons there were not more fatalities in the EF4 St Louis tornado was - wait for it and drum roll - LUCK

She had a list - but LUCK was, if I remember correctly, number 1 on the list.

I think that one had a very limited area of EF4 damage. I want to say only one structure but not sure.

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The "Walk of Unity" was today. Estimates are that 6,000-8,000 participated in the walk and 8,000-10,000 were at Cunningham Park for the ceremony. I saw two hot air balloons today, which is rare around here. There were stops for a steeple raising at a church and groundbreaking at Joplin High School for the new school and a stop for kids where Irving Elementary used to be before going to Cunningham Park for the ceremony. News media from all over was here. I saw the TWC's Tornado Hunt truck, CNN's truck, etc...

http://www.joplinglo...ado-anniversary

Mercy/St. Johns donated land to Stained Glass theater for a community theater, and the City of Joplin to build a tornado museum. Both of those projects would need to find funding. Mercy has stated they will build a chapel at the former site of St. Johns and maybe an amphitheater. This is in addition to the land they donated to Irving Elementary which also had groundbreaking today.

http://www.joplinglo...w-Joplin-museum

The first Convoy of Hope house (Insulated Concrete Forms) was given to it's owner today as well:

http://www.joplinglo...ornado-survivor

CBSNews report on that house actually.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=y77Wf5usKP8

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