Symposium on Planning, Nowcasting, and Forecasting in the Urban Zone


Science into service during the 4 May 2003 tornado outbreak

Lisa R. Schmit, National Weather Service Kansas City/Pleasant Hill, MO, Pleasant Hill, MO; and M. Hudson and S. M. Fortin

On 4 May 2003, a historic outbreak of tornadoes ravaged the Kansas City metropolitan area. A total of five tornadoes produced over $120 million in damage to four metropolitan area counties, including the first violent tornadoes in the Kansas City area in over 26 years. Despite the tremendous property loss, the human toll remained surprisingly low. While many of these tornadoes tracked across heavily populated neighborhoods, only one fatality and 50 injuries were noted.

The infusion of recent tornado research into operations, along with an extensive internal and external education program, led to early anticipation of the tornadic potential, and ultimately to timely warnings during the event. This infusion also led to a much higher level of service to the community. Efforts to include all groups involved in the warning process, including pre-event workshops and storm spotter programs, undoubtedly contributed to all groups working together to save lives. All groups offered a consistent, coherent message that undoubtedly helped to motivate citizens to take appropriate action. This partnership certainly played a large role in dealing with the logistics of the aftermath of the storms.

Session 6, Emergency Response (Room 611)
Tuesday, 13 January 2004, 3:30 PM-5:30 PM, Room 611

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