Tornado survivor stresses importance of listening to warnings

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COLUMBIA - As tornado sirens sounded throughout Missouri Tuesday, the drill called to mind weekend tornados that devastated areas in Alabama, Georgia and Florida.

Annie Adrian, who was 12 years old when an EF-5 tornado ripped through her home and other parts of Joplin, Missouri in 2011, said people need to pay attention when tornado warnings are issued.

“Living in that area, nobody took it seriously,” said Adrian. “I think that’s something made that day worse for a lot of people.”

Adrian said people in Joplin were used to tornado warnings because they happened fairly often. 

KOMU 8 weathercaster Matt Beckwith said, “When a warning is issued, a storm spotter has seen the tornado or we’re seeing it on Doppler radar. We’re telling you there’s a tornado warning because we want you to be safe.”

Beckwith stressed the importance of getting to an interior room on the lowest floor of a building to stay safe when a warning is issued.

Adrian said her dad watched the Joplin storm from the front porch and didn't get into the family's storm shelter until the last second.

“We’ll never forgive him for that one,” she said.

Adrian said she feels lucky and the storm had one positive impact.

“The Joplin tornado has raised awareness for how bad it can get,” she said. “That’s one of the good things that’s come out of this.”