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Before there was crisis management: Tornado warnings a modern phenomenon June 5, 2011

Posted by rmshepard in Uncategorized.
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The catastrophic tornado that ripped through Joplin, Missouri in May 2011 killed over 115 people. Overall, the tornado outbreak in the United States over the months of April and May killed more than 400 Americans. With this being one of the deadliest tornado seasons on record, many crisis management experts have been left wondering what more they can do to help those in the way of such storms find safe shelter.

Crisis management during tornado season is a relatively modern phenomenon. Whereas tornado deaths in the US were around 8 per 1 million people in 1925, this figure has fallen to .11 per million today thanks to more advanced meteorology. Before the 1950s, though, warnings didn’t exist at all because there was a ban on using the word “tornado” in weather forecasts since the Signal Corps worried that it would cause widespread panic.

For more on tornado warnings in the modern era, see the following videos:

Discussion Questions:

1.  What is the relationship between public relations and extreme weather warnings?

2.  Why is it so difficult for the public to take tornado warnings seriously?

3.  What do you think is necessary for televised tornado warnings to be effective?

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