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WORST SINGLE TORNADO SINCE 1953 STRIKES JOPLIN, MISSOURI REGIONAL MEDICAL CENTER TAKES A DIRECT WORST SINGLE TORNADO SINCE 1953 STRIKES JOPLIN, MISSOURI REGIONAL MEDICAL CENTER TAKES A DIRECT HIT 116 DEATHS; MORE LIKELY SUNDAY, MAY 22, 2011 Walter Hays, Global Alliance for Disaster Reduction, University of North Carolina, USA

This storm was part of a series that battered the Midwest on Sunday night, This storm was part of a series that battered the Midwest on Sunday night, causing tornado warnings and watches to be posted from Texas to Michigan

THE STORM SYSTEM AT 6: 20 PM SATURDAY, MAY 21: TOPEKA, KS THE STORM SYSTEM AT 6: 20 PM SATURDAY, MAY 21: TOPEKA, KS

EARLY SUNDAY MORNING: BAD WEATHER EARLY SUNDAY MORNING: BAD WEATHER

EARLY MONDAY MORNING NEAR ST JOHNS EARLY MONDAY MORNING NEAR ST JOHNS

MAY 23: At daybreak, rescue crews were looking at piles of 2, 000 damaged MAY 23: At daybreak, rescue crews were looking at piles of 2, 000 damaged buildings, splintered houses and crushed cars, house after house reduced to slabs, cars crushed like soda cans, ---

CONTINUED: ---Shaken residents roaming streets in search of missing family members, fires from gas CONTINUED: ---Shaken residents roaming streets in search of missing family members, fires from gas leaks burning across town, and more violent weather looming.

ST JOHNS REGIONAL MEDICAL CENTER TAKES DIRECT HIT: JOPLIN, MO ST JOHNS REGIONAL MEDICAL CENTER TAKES DIRECT HIT: JOPLIN, MO

WARNING SYSTEMS • Tornado sirens blared, giving residents 10 to 17 minutes of warning; WARNING SYSTEMS • Tornado sirens blared, giving residents 10 to 17 minutes of warning; however, rain and hail may have drowned out the sirens.

IMMEDIATE IMPACTS AT ST JOHNS • Windows were blown out on the top floors IMMEDIATE IMPACTS AT ST JOHNS • Windows were blown out on the top floors of the hospital. • Patients had to be evacuated to other hospitals in the area.

EMERGENCY RESPONSE • The Governor of Missouri declared a state of emergency. • Members EMERGENCY RESPONSE • The Governor of Missouri declared a state of emergency. • Members of the 35 th Engineer Brigade, based in Joplin, were called to help in a) search and rescue, b) clearing roads, c) security, and d) communications.

EMERGENCY RESPONSE • Rescuers searching for survivors in the debris had to cope with: EMERGENCY RESPONSE • Rescuers searching for survivors in the debris had to cope with: a) a strong thunderstorm, b) downed power lines and jagged chunks of debris, c) fires, d)gas fumes, and e) unstable buildings.

HEAVY DAMAGE ALONG ½ MILEWIDE - 6 MILE LONG PATH HEAVY DAMAGE ALONG ½ MILEWIDE - 6 MILE LONG PATH

ST JOHNS: DAMAGE TO EMERGENCY MEDICAL VEHICLES ST JOHNS: DAMAGE TO EMERGENCY MEDICAL VEHICLES

A WALMART STORE DESTROYED A WALMART STORE DESTROYED

WIDE SPREAD DESTRUCTION: JOPLIN WIDE SPREAD DESTRUCTION: JOPLIN

DAMAGE: JOPLIN DAMAGE: JOPLIN

DEBRIS LADEN STREETS: JOPLIN DEBRIS LADEN STREETS: JOPLIN

TRACTOR TRAILOR OVERTURNED ON I-44: JOPLIN TRACTOR TRAILOR OVERTURNED ON I-44: JOPLIN

MONDAY: VIOLENT WEATHER HINDERS RESPONSE MONDAY: VIOLENT WEATHER HINDERS RESPONSE

MONDAY: TRIAGE STATION AT 27 TH AND MAIN; JOPLIN MONDAY: TRIAGE STATION AT 27 TH AND MAIN; JOPLIN

BACKGROUND BACKGROUND

TORNADOE SEASON • The peak tornado season is late winter through midsummer, …. • TORNADOE SEASON • The peak tornado season is late winter through midsummer, …. • But tornadoes can happen any time of the year when the atmospheric conditions are right.

MISSOURI IS PART OF TORNADO ALLEY • TORNADOES HAVE OCCURRED IN EVERY STATE, BUT MISSOURI IS PART OF TORNADO ALLEY • TORNADOES HAVE OCCURRED IN EVERY STATE, BUT THEY OCCUR MOST FREQUENTLY IN “TORNADO ALLEY, ” WHICH INCLUDES PARTS OF: TEXAS, OKLAHOMA, ARKANSAS, TENNESSEE, NEBRASKA, KANSAS, MISSOURI, ILLINOIS, AND IOWA.

THE PHYSICS OF TORNADOES • TORNADOES ARE CAUSED BY THE COLLISION OF DESCENDING COLD THE PHYSICS OF TORNADOES • TORNADOES ARE CAUSED BY THE COLLISION OF DESCENDING COLD AIR MASSESS COMING FROM THE NORTH AND ASCENDING WARM AIR MASSES COMING FROM THE SOUTH.

THE PHYSICS OF TORNADOES • THE COLLISION CREATES A FUNNEL OF HIGH-VELOCITY WIND THAT THE PHYSICS OF TORNADOES • THE COLLISION CREATES A FUNNEL OF HIGH-VELOCITY WIND THAT IS VERY DESTRUCTIVE AS IT “TOUCHES DOWN” ONE OR MORE TIMES ALONG A LONG, NARROW (TYPICALLY 10 -100 M) PATH.

PHYSICS OF A TORNADO PHYSICS OF A TORNADO

HAZARDS OF A TORNADO (AKA POTENTIAL DISASTER AGENTS) • WIND: SPEEDS CAN REACH 500 HAZARDS OF A TORNADO (AKA POTENTIAL DISASTER AGENTS) • WIND: SPEEDS CAN REACH 500 KM/HR (300 MI/HR) • PATH: CAN VARY FROM NARROW TO WIDE; SHORT TO LONG • THUNDER, LIGHTNING, AND HEAVY PRECIPITATION ARE TYPICAL • HAIL CAN BE VERY DAMAGING WITHIN A FEW MINUTES