Since the tornado, Joplin has, in my opinion, made the situation worse by increasing the number of situations in which sirens are sounded. We know that too many false alarms make people less likely to take appropriate action to protect themselves.
He takes the very reasonable position that activating sirens for high winds is not a good idea. I agree completely. Yet, come Monday morning, here was his apology:
Since publishing Sirens, I have learned that Joplin officials do not take kindly to anyone criticizing their judgment when it comes to activating sirens.
Their new (adopted in 2012) policy, correctly stated above, says they will sound the sirens if a tornado warning is issued for Cherokee County in Kansas. This will worsen their already bad false alarm problem.
Suppose there is a tornado near Oswego, Kansas (left side of map). The NWS will issue a tornado warning for Cherokee Co. immediately to the east. But, if the storm is moving east at the typical 30 mph, it will be an hour an a half before it reaches Joplin! In that time, it will (statistically) likely lift, meaning yet another false alarm. Even if it stays on the ground all that time, research indicates that people will not stay in their basements that long. So, they risk people coming out of shelter prematurely and exposing themselves to danger.
Of course, the citizens of Joplin and their officials are free to set up any warning system they wish. But, their strategy of gross siren overwarning seems more designed to deflect criticism in case a future tornado occurs rather than protecting the public.