Bimal Kanti Paul* - Kansas State University
This study explores the possible reasons for the unexpectedly high number of fatalities caused by the 22 May 2011 tornado in Joplin, MO. Based on information collected through a questionnaire survey among tornado survivors, and informal interviews/conversations with tornado survivors, emergency personnel and members of volunteer groups helping tornado survivors in relief and debris removal, we concluded that there were three reasons for such a high death toll caused by the Joplin, MO, tornado. The first reason is associated with the tornado path and its magnitude. The tornado was an FE5 throughout its 6-mile long path. A second reason was that the tornado passed through densely populated areas. The final reason is associated with the physical characteristics of the majority of homes in Joplin, MO. In context of our findings, we made several recommendations which will help in reducing deaths and injuries from future tornadoes in Joplin, MO.