In March, 2014, NIST completed its investigation of the 2011 Joplin tornado and issued a final report (Final Report, NIST Technical Investigation of the May 22, 2011, Tornado in Joplin, Missouri.) The report detailed 47 findings and 16 recommendations for improving (1) the design, construction, and maintenance of buildings and shelters in tornado-prone regions; and (2) emergency communications that alert and warn of imminent threat from tornadoes. Specifically, the recommendations call for development and adoption of (1) Nationally accepted standards for tornado–resistant design of buildings and infrastructure; (2) Uniform national guidelines that enable communities to create safe and effective public sheltering strategies and tornado shelter standard; and (3) National codes and standards and uniform guidance for clear, consistent, recognizable, and accurate emergency communications to enable safe, effective, and timely responses of people in the path of storms. Additionally, the recommendations also call for research, technologies and strategies to advance tornado wind measurements, strengthen emergency communications, increase warning time, derive more accurate tornado hazard maps and improve public response in tornadoes.
Each NIST recommendation has a designated lead agency. There are eight agencies/organizations with designated lead roles, including: NOAA, NWS, ASCE, FEMA, ICC, NFPA, NSF, and NIST. This project description outlines plans and associated milestones for the implementation of these sixteen NIST Joplin tornado recommendations.
Objective - To implement all 16 recommendations from the NIST Joplin tornado investigation, at the earliest possible date based on code and standard development cycles, by: (1) conducting research and development to provide the technical foundation for improved guidelines, standards, codes and (2) developing, or coordinating the development of, guidelines, national standards, and code change proposals; and (3) coordinating/championing their adoption in the national model codes.
What is the new technical idea? While progress has been made on several of the recommendations during the first phase of the Joplin Implementation Project (completed in FY19), development of the new probabilistic tornado hazard maps has been the primary focus. Now that the R&D to develop the map methodology is finished and the draft maps have been delivered to key stakeholders, the second phase of the project (beginning in FY20) will expand the focus to include several additional recommendations, as follows:
What is the research plan? The research plan to implement the several recommendations identified above is as follows: