You would be surprised how many people don't fully understand what tornado alerts in Missouri mean. Today is a special reminder that understanding what weather alert you're hearing could save your life and there's one in particular that is dreaded. It's a rare tornado emergency.

The National Weather Service in Springfield, Missouri today reminded everyone on social media today of the three different levels of tornado alerts. As a refresher, they go like this.

  • Tornado Watch - means conditions are favorable for the developing of tornadic storms
  • Tornado Warning - a tornado has either been reported by a trained spotter or is radar-indicated
  • Tornado Emergency - scariest environment imaginable

Yes, a tornado emergency means that a major tornado is on the ground and appears capable of leveling everything it touches - including you.

Wikipedia lists many tornado emergencies that have been issued over the years which includes many tragic events in Missouri.

This is a part of the Storm Aware exercise today in Missouri. We are on the cusp of what might be one of the most violent Spring storm seasons in recent memory as changing weather patterns have many forecasters warning of serious storms in 2024.

There's only one Missouri tornado emergency that I can remember and that's the May 22, 2011 Joplin tornado. I remember that day and as soon as I heard the phrase "tornado emergency" uttered, I knew the people of Joplin were in big trouble. A tornado of that size and strength going through a metro area is a worst-case scenario that you hope and pray you never have to live through.

That's why today we all come to grips with what a tornado emergency means and why we never want to hear those words yet also know without a doubt what we'd do and where we'd seek shelter if we did.

75 Years Ago, Monster Tornado Destroys 80% of Small Illinois Town

Gallery Credit: Ancient Air Theatre via YouTube

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