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Why did so many people die in Joplin?

The Joplin tornado of May 22, 2011, is the only twister to produce more than 100 fatalities since the predecessor of the National Weather Service began issuing tornado warnings in 1957.

Meteorologists have been lauded for the warnings issued that day. But AccuWeather Senior Vice President Mike Smith poses a question in the aftermath of the Joplin tornado, which destroyed one-third of the city and is blamed for 161 deaths.

If the warnings were “expert,” why did so many die?

He’ll tackle that question at a meeting of the Wichita chapter of the American Meteorological Society/National Weather Association at AccuWeather’s offices in the Bank of America building, 100 N. Broadway, on Sept. 18. The event begins at 6:30 p.m. with a catered meal, and Smith’s presentation – A Second Look at the Joplin Tornado – will begin at 7 p.m.

The meeting is open to the public. The dinner is $10 for chapter members and $20 for non-members. RSVPs are encouraged, but not mandatory, to Lorrie Donham at by September 14.