Preparing for the 2012 tornado season in Missouri

Wednesday, February 29, 2012 | 3:33 p.m. CST; updated 1:03 p.m. CST, Friday, March 2, 2012
Broken branches and household debris are scattered across a lawn early Wednesday morning in Harveyville, Kan., after an apparent tornado passed through the town Tuesday night. Kansas Gov. Sam Brownback declared a state of emergency late Tuesday after a powerful storm system pounded the state's midsection.

COLUMBIA — The tornadoes that struck southwest Missouri early Wednesday morning are a startling warning for the beginning of the 2012 tornado season. The Missourian wants to make sure Columbia is prepared.

Although these tornadoes are earlier than Missouri's peak tornado season — which usually starts in mid-March and continues to late June — the state is part of Tornado Alley and is in the top five states for tornado activity, according to MU Extension.

The deadly tornado in Joplin on May 22, 2011, was an EF5 tornado that killed 161 people and created $2.8 billion in property damage. Nine months later, service agencies are still facing huge demand.

Nationwide, 2011's tornado season was the deadliest since 1953, as Missouri experienced in both Joplin and St. Louis. Although Columbia was not hit by a tornado last year, Zim Schwartze, director of emergency management for Columbia and Boone Country, said in a Missourian article that Columbia is most at risk for an EF2 or EF3 tornado. In 1998, an F3 tornado struck Columbia, stripped the facade of an MU records building and caused other damage.

At the Missourian, we're preparing for tornado season, and we want to hear from you. We hope you can take time to share with the community your questions, stories, advice and experiences.


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