Target 8 Investigation: Joplin Tornado Warnings
JOPLIN- No words can describe the explosiveness of the tornado that passed through Joplin on May 22nd.
"This wasn't a true tornado setup where you had one super cell. We had a cluster of storms," Doug Heady, a meterologist at KOAM TV, said.
Phone records indicate that the Joplin tornado initally hit at 5:29 P.M. The first tornado warning was said to have gone out at 5:09 P.M., which was not indicating the storm that hit Joplin.
The next warning came out at 5:17, with updates coming out at 5:30 and 5:39. But things get confusing when at 5:42, an update on the 5:09 warning is issued. This warning also stated that the storm was moving north of the city.
"The [warning] polygon was big enough to cover Joplin... I think this may be why there is a little fire in the office," Heady said.
Heady says he believes that the Joplin area was warned appropriately: 17 minutes before the storm hit the ground, 6 minutes before the normal warning time.
Representatives from the National Weather Service also said when they saw the tornado in the forecast, they sent out an alert right away.
To say Joplin was under a timely warning is correct. To say Joplin was prepared for the type of storm that hit is incorrect.