Five years later: Looking back at the deadly 2011 tornado season

NOAA to host media teleconference on lessons learned and future improvements

Aerial shot of St. John's Hospital in Joplin, Mo., following the May 22, 2011 EF-5 tornado.

Aerial shot of St. John's Hospital in Joplin, Mo., following the May 22, 2011 EF-5 tornado. (Image credit: NOAA)

The tornadoes of 2011 were unprecedented, causing death and destruction in more than a dozen states from the Central Plains and Missouri, throughout the southeast and as far north as Massachusetts. In total, 553 people lost their lives, making it the deadliest year since 1936. 

In spite of timely and accurate forecasts and warnings, NOAA recognized that too many lives were lost. Following an intensive review, NOAA created the Weather Ready Initiative, designed to improve the nation's response to severe weather forecasts and warnings.

On Monday, April 11, NOAA will host a media teleconference to review the historical implications of that deadly period in 2011, and to look at the advancements in science, technology and communication since 2011. The National Weather Service and NOAA Research experts will also share their personal experiences issuing severe weather outlooks and warnings for the storms and what’s on the horizon in severe weather research.  

Webinar for reporters on 2011 severe weather events; 5-year commemoration.
Followed by questions and answers with reporters.
Monday, April 11, 3 - 3:45 p.m. EDT
  • Laura Furgione, deputy director, NOAA’s National Weather Service
  • Russell Schneider Ph.D., director, NOAA’s Storm Prediction Center
  • Jim Stefkovich, meteorologist in charge, NOAA National Weather Service Birmingham (Ala.) Forecast Office
  • Vankita Brown Ph.D., social scientist, NOAA National Weather Service
  • Harold Brooks Ph.D., senior research scientist, NOAA’s National Severe Storms Laboratory
Audio dial-in: 800-­857-­5051 
Password: Tornado
Download slides (PDF, 7.58MB)
Learn more about NOAA's work in forecasting and researching severe storms. Also, view our tips on preparing for severe weather.
Media contacts
Maureen O’Leary, NOAA’s National Weather Service, 301-427-9000
Keli Pirtle, NOAA’s Storm Prediction Center and National Severe Storms Lab, 405-325-6933