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Junction City, KS, United States

Paul B.K.,Kansas State University | Stimers M.,Cloud County Community College
Weather, Climate, and Society | Year: 2014

On 22 May 2011, a massive tornado tore through a densely populated section of Joplin, Missouri, killing 162 people. The EF5 tornado was the deadliest single tornado to occur in the United States since modern record keeping began in 1950, surpassing the tornado of 8 June 1953, which claimed 116 lives in Flint, Michigan. The Joplin tornado death toll was also far higher than the average annual number of deaths caused by tornadoes in the United States between 2000 and 2011. This study analyzed Joplin deaths by damage zone and place of death. Tabular data collected primarily from secondary sources revealed the number of deaths and death rates differ significantly by zone of destruction. The central zone (labeled as "catastrophic") had the most deaths, with the number decreasing systematically in both directions from the center of that zone. The results of this study further show that more people died in nonresidential buildings in Joplin than is usual in a U.S. tornado event, calling into question how well such structures protect occupants. Finally, the lack of basements in residential and other structures most likely contributed greatly to the high death toll, although the degree remains uncertain. Several recommendations are offered to reduce future U.S. tornado fatalities. © 2014 American Meteorological Society. Source


Paul B.K.,Kansas State University | Stimers M.,Cloud County Community College
Natural Hazards | Year: 2012

On the evening of 22 May 2011, an EF-5 tornado tore a path six miles long across Joplin, Missouri, USA, killing 162 people as it passed through the heart of the city. This tornado stands as the deadliest single tornado to hit the United States since modern recordkeeping began in 1950, surpassing the tornado of 8 June 1953 that claimed 116 lives in Flint, Michigan. The record number of deaths caused by the single tornado in Joplin was far higher than the average annual number of US tornado deaths over the last three decades. This study explores the reasons for the high number of fatalities caused by the 2011 Joplin tornado. Questionnaire surveys administered among tornado survivors and informal discussions with emergency management personnel and others suggest that five reasons are associated with the high number of tornado fatalities experienced in Joplin: (1) the sheer magnitude of this event; (2) its path through commercial and densely populated residential areas; (3) the relatively large size of damage area; (4) the physical characteristics of affected homes in Joplin; and (5) the fact that some residents ignored tornado warnings. Several recommendations are offered, the implementation of which should reduce future tornado fatalities not only in Joplin, but elsewhere in the United States. © 2012 Springer Science+Business Media B.V. Source


Paul B.K.,Kansas State University | Stimers M.,Cloud County Community College | Caldas M.,Kansas State University
Disasters | Year: 2015

Joplin, a city in the southwest corner of Missouri, United States, suffered an EF-5 tornado in the late afternoon of 22 May 2011. This event, which claimed the lives of 162 people, represents the deadliest single tornado to strike the US since modern record-keeping began in 1950. This study examines the factors associated with responses to tornado warnings. Based on a post-tornado survey of survivors in Joplin, it reveals that tornado warnings were adequate and timely. Multivariate logistic regression identified four statistically significant determinants of compliance with tornado warnings: number of warning sources, whether respondents were at home when the tornado struck, past tornado experience, and gender. The findings suggest several recommendations, the implementation of which will further improve responses to tornado warnings. © 2014 The Author(s). Disasters © Overseas Development Institute, 2014. Source

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