They have become familiar faces and voices during the deadliest tornado season in decades.
They'll converge on Watermark Books, 4701E. Douglas, at 7 p.m. today to share stories, sign books and answer questions:
* Jenna Blum, best-selling author and a guide on Tempest Tours, which takes "storm tourists" in search of tornadoes
* Mike Smith, founder and chief executive of WeatherData, a private forecasting service that is now a subsidiary of AccuWeather
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* Jim Reed, a veteran storm chaser and severe-weather photographer who has documented hurricanes, blizzards and numerous tornadoes.
According to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration's Storm Prediction Center, 523 people have been killed by tornadoes this spring, making it the deadliest tornado season since 1936.
More tornadoes touched down in April than in any month since record keeping began more than a half-century ago.
"What is so unfortunate is that tornadoes are striking metropolitan areas," Blum said. "We are seeing an extremely active pattern that doesn't really show signs of abating.
"People, no matter where they live, need to be alert and prepared."
So many cities have been hit by tornadoes this year that Blum has begun using the term "metronado."
The ability to forecast the potential for tornadoes has never been better, Reed said. The warning systems in place have never been better.
"So why are we losing more people?" he asked.
The answers are complex, Smith said, but they center on how people are reacting to the warnings and the threat of severe weather.
"Meteorologists issuing accurate, timely warnings is not enough," he said. "People have to respond to the warnings, and they have to have a place to shelter themselves."
Blum, Smith and Reed all have written books that will be available Monday night, but they want to use the appearance as an opportunity to answer questions posed by the audience.
Blum's recently released novel, "The Stormchasers," has already hit the best-seller list in Holland, where it joins her first book, "Those Who Save Us."
Smith wrote "Warnings: The True Story of How Science Tamed the Weather," and he bristles when he reads or hears claims that this spring's deadliest tornadoes struck without warning.
That's simply not true, he said.
Tornado warnings were issued for Joplin at least 19 minutes before the EF-5 tornado struck on May 22, he said.
And forecasters were cautioning for days about the threat of an outbreak in the Deep South on April 27. Tornado warnings were issued well before the tornadoes hit.
But many people could not get the warnings, Smith said, because thunderstorms with powerful straight-line winds earlier that morning had knocked out electricity to tens of thousands of homes.
More than 300 people were killed in the April outbreak, a number Smith is convinced would have been much lower if not for the power outages.
Reed's "Storm Chaser: A Photographer's Journey" is a collection of his photographs accumulated over 20 years of documenting severe weather. He is convinced severe weather is becoming more frequent and more violent.
Two issues seem to have emerged during this tornado season, Smith said.
"People outside of the core of Tornado Alley don't seem to know where to go when a warning is issued," he said. "The second issue is the overuse of tornado sirens.
"We have been training people to ignore the sirens, and we ought to stop that."
St. Louis County, Mo., sounds sirens whenever a tornado threat occurs within or next to the county if the threat is heading toward St. Louis County, he said.
Officials in Joplin's Jasper County sound sirens for both tornadoes and severe thunderstorms, he said.
The net result, Smith said, is that people hear the sirens so often that they readily tune them out.
Jurisdictions can learn from what Sedgwick County and the city of Andover have done, Smith said.
Sedgwick County Commissioners last week approved adding sirens to its network that will be upgraded so only those in areas directly threatened by a violent storm will be sounded.
Andover already has those in place, along with public storm shelters open around the clock for residents whose dwellings don't have basements or safe rooms.
"They learned the lesson of 1991," Smith said, referring to the F5 tornado that killed 13 in Andover on April 26 of that year.