Sunday, April 15, 2012

I Have a New Book Coming Out

Due out the first week of May, I tell the story of the Joplin tornado and how the warning system failed to convey the intended messages. My goal is to help our profession learn from Joplin to insure we deliver better warning services in the future. The title is When the Sirens Were Silent. 

We've got three events planned with more the come:

  • Greensburg, 10:30am, May 5
  • Kansas City Main Library, 6pm, May 9
  • Watermark Books, Wichita, 7pm, May 10
Mindy and I will post additional information as the dates get closer.

In addition to the study of Joplin, there will be three pages of tornado safety rules for home, school, and workplace. They will be on heavier paper and perforated so they can be taken out and posted where they will provide the most benefit. 


  1. I'm looking forward to reading this book. Thanks for the heads up!

    One question I have (which I presume will be answered in the book, but I'll pose it here anyway) is this:

    I thought the problem in Joplin was NOT that the sirens were "silent", rather, it was just the opposite -- the sirens had been sounded so often for so many years without any serious tornado threat, that when they were sounded for the "big one," no one paid attention. You have often talked about over warning being a serious problem, so what prompted you to choose the title of this book? Thanks for responding?


  2. Hi Elaine,

    A number of things didn't go well in Joplin and I would be happy to answer your question but I can't do it justice in a paragraph or two.

    I spent a lot of time researching the complex interaction of factors that caused the Joplin tornado to be more deadly than it needed to be.


  3. Great news! I recently finished Warnings, and can't wait to pick this one up too. Keep up the good work!

  4. Mike,

    I look forward immensely to your thoughts in the book. As we discussed at AMS in OKC, it was a combination of factors that led to the cluster "bomb" that doomed Joplin that Sunday.

    IMHO, two huge factors were the emergency manager's siren policy in Joplin and the false alarm rate of NWS SGF.

    I trust I will be as fascinated by this read as I was your last publication!


  5. James, thanks for the comment. You are very much on the right track but it is even more complicated than we originally thought, thus the book. It took months of investigation, writing and editing to get the story right.


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