New report finds ignoring storm warnings could be deadly - KFVS12 News & Weather Cape Girardeau, Carbondale, Poplar Bluff

New report finds ignoring storm warnings could be deadly


A new report from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) shows many people in Joplin didn't heed severe weather warnings before that deadly may 22 tornado.

The massive EF-5 tornado killed 159 and injured thousands.

A NOAA team sent to Joplin immediately after the tornado hit found that Joplin residents felt the sirens went off so frequently in town, they were desensitized to them became complacent about the warnings.

The team learned when those warnings sounded may 22, some residents waited to confirm how bad it was going to be before seeking shelter. NOAA says in many cases, that delay turned out to be deadly.

"I think it tells us we need to take it seriously when the tornado siren sounds, you are in imminent danger and you need to take shelter then you don't wait until you see a funnel cloud," said Williamson County EMA coordinator Steve Land.

Land says the sirens blare only when conditions are ideal for a tornado to form.

"Back years ago sirens may activate only when someone actually spotted a funnel cloud down the street and they would go off, now with the Doppler radar it's up there, you may not see it, but it's there, so it does go off more than it used to."

More often than not a tornado doesn't touch down when sirens sound, but as NOAA teams saw in Joplin, ignoring the warnings can have deadly consequences.

Land says the sirens are meant to be an outdoor warning, but you may not hear them in your home. He says to keep your family safe there's no substitute for a weather radio.

Online: NWS Joplin tornado assessment

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