When Every Minute Counts

Photograph by Peter Hapak for TIME

The challenge we face in covering catastrophic weather events is to find new ways to present a story as old as time. In the case of the brutal events in Oklahoma, we have focused on the very brief warning period that exists before the touchdown of a deadly tornado. The earlier and more accurate the warning, the fewer the deaths. Editor-at-large David Von Drehle wrote our memorable story two years ago about the tornado in Joplin, Mo., which killed 161 people. "I've covered major hurricanes and blizzards, but nothing I've ever seen packed the destructive force of the Joplin tornado, the...

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