Monday, August 20, 2012

Unclear Geography in Weather Warnings

I don't like to criticize my colleagues at the National Weather Service because they generally do a wonderful job, often with limited resources.

That said, at last week's American Meteorological Society's Summer Meeting in Norman the subject of clear warning communication was raised. Saturday, there was an example of how not to communicate the location of a flood threat.

Below is a statement pertaining to a flash flood warning for northern Dallas County. Yet, the statement talks about southern Dallas County. There is nothing in the informational part of the warning that clearly pertains to the stated area.
Secondly, where is "2 miles south of Dallas"? Two miles south of downtown? Two miles south of the city limits, where? Wherever it is, it is not in northern Dallas County.

This inconsistent messaging occurs surprisingly often. It was a factor in the horrific death toll from the Joplin tornado. I suggest the National Weather Service pay closer attention to geographic consistency in its urgent storm warnings.

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