The Joplin Tornado: Then and Now

Survivors share their stories in Tornado Warning by Tamara Hart Heiner
Tornado Warning by Tamara Hart Heiner
Tornado Warning by Tamara Hart Heiner
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PIKEVILLE, N.C. - May 7, 2018 - PRLog -- An EF 5 tornado blew through Joplin, Missouri on May 22, 2011. More than 150 people were killed. Hundreds of homes were destroyed. The school district closed for the year because of the devastation and destruction. But the community and the seven women featured in Tornado Warning: The Extraordinary Women of Joplin by Tamara Hart Heiner remained Joplin strong.

Right after the tragedy took place, the author drove 45 miles from her Arkansas home to the affected area. She was so awed by what she saw that she was compelled to write about the Joplin tornado.  Ms. Heiner steeped herself in piles of reports and conducted dozens of detailed interviews.

But what really struck her were the survivors and their stories.  "The Joplin tornado shocked the nation with the strength of its devastating force. People on the outside of such devastation don't know about what it is really like," she said. "They forget about how long it takes to return to normal, if ever."

Fortunately, Joplin came back strong:

"I live in Kansas City, MO now, but my parents rebuilt on their same lot. There was a grieving process after the tornado. Grieving loss of my childhood home, all the schools I went to, and what seemed like the memories that went with them, but now I things are better. It took a while, but I realize the memories are still there and we are here to create new ones. There has been a lot of growth in the last seven years, and every time I come home to visit, it seems like there is something new. Joplin came back strong and it's thanks to our community who stepped up and helped and all the amazing people who came from near and far and volunteered to help. We remain Joplin Strong!" - Cara Edens, one of the women featured in Tornado Warning

"People have rebuilt - lives, relationships, homes, businesses, community. Personally, I still live to cherish every day as we never know what can happen tomorrow.  My son and I have moved but still live in Joplin.  I graduated college and have now moved on to working in law enforcement/security - in an effort to help people more.  We've both changed, as everyone does over time, but we still look back on that day and realize just how lucky we were and how fortunate we have been since then.  We are more daring and cautious at the same time because of what we went through, trying new things but cherishing our pasts as well.  The tornado will always be a part of our identity - I only hope that we can always say it made us stronger and better than we were before it." - Piper Divine, one of the women featured in Tornado Warning

"It is amazing to me that the spark of life can't be expelled even when faced with major obstacles," said Ms. Heiner.

Tornado Warning is a well-researched, factual narrative that recounts the true experiences of seven women and their families as they go through the harrowing events and try to hold their families and community together. All the profits of this book are donated to the relief funds and those who contributed their stories.

The true story about seven ordinary women and one extraordinary event...

Summer approaches and the residents in Joplin, Missouri, anticipate the fun activities that will follow. What they don't anticipate is the mile-wide tornado that will devastate the town on May 22, 2011. The tornado kills over a hundred people and leaves thousands homeless. In the face of this tragedy, seven women must gather their courage. Each makes different choices as Joplin recovers from the winds of destruction.

"Chilling accounts from those in its path.  I literally had goosebumps at times and felt the waves of fear as each individual realized what was happening." - Beau Dodson, storm chaser

"Tornado Warning is an emotional cross-section of seven women who survived the Joplin tornado. I didn't expect to form such a powerful connection with the survivors of this natural disaster. Emotional and riveting."  - Christy Dorrity, author of Awakening

Tamara Hart Heiner lives in Bella Vista, Arkansas with her husband and four children. She received her degree in English from Brigham Young University and is a professional proofreader. In addition to Tornado Warning, she's the author of the award-winning Kellam High series, the best-selling, Cassandra Jones saga, and several young adult suspense novels. For more information visit

Tornado Warning: The Extraordinary Women of Joplin is available online, retail, and in all eBook formats. Published by Dancing Lemur Press, L.L.C. Biographies & Autobiographies/Women, trade paperback $15.95 ISBN 9781939844439, eBook $2.99 ISBN 9781939844446

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