The scene in Moore, Oklahoma, this past week was hauntingly familiar. The images of clean-up crews picking through the wreckage of two elementary schools transported me back to 1957, when an F5 tornado struck my Kansas City neighborhood, destroying my kindergarten and leaving 44 people dead. Thankfully, we've learned a lot since then that can help limit tornado casualties. But many misconceptions persist — misconceptions that can encourage bad policy and put lives at risk. I'd like to dispel some of the myths.

1. Meteorologists aren't any good at forecasting these storms.

How does 99.3 percent sound? In 2011, 553 people lost their lives in tornadoes. For all but four of those victims (99.3 percent), both a tornado watch and a tornado warning were in effect before the storm arrived.