The May 22, 2011, massive tornado that struck Joplin, Mo., was rated category EF5, the most powerful on the Enhanced Fujita scale. It impacted an area approximately three-quarters of a mile wide by 14 miles long, destroyed some 8,000 structures in its path, and killed more than 150 people.
NIST sent four engineers to Joplin from May 25-28, to conduct a preliminary reconnaissance of building performance and emergency communications during the tornado. Based on the analysis of the data collected and other criteria required by regulation, NIST Director Pat Gallagher established a research team to proceed with a more comprehensive study of the impacts of the disaster.
The objectives of the NIST technical study are to: