Sunday, January 27, 2013

January Tornado Outbreaks

With the potential for tornadoes Tuesday and Wednesday, here is an article about winter tornado outbreaks. It is very well done.

I personally worked the January, 1999, storms which hold the record for worst winter outbreak. At AccuWeather Enterprise Solutions (then, WeatherData, Inc.) we were shorthanded that day due to illness. So, I had to work one of the storm warning positions. I took Arkansas. The tornadoes were moving with forward speeds of about 55 mph! When a tornado is advancing toward a client at a mile a minute, timely warnings are essential and the pressure is intense.
Cropped illustration from article. The tornadoes southeast of the Mississippi River occurred the next day.
I sat in that chair for about seven hours without getting up a single time. Fortunately, we got all our clients warned and all were safe; although two of our railroads had debris across their tracks. Few outside of the profession know how intense the pressure is on meteorologists, whether government, broadcast, or private-sector, when storms of this nature threaten.

So, if your local meteorologist is on top of Tuesday's tornadoes, please send them (or, better yet, the news director or general manager of their station) a note of appreciation. Same goes for your local National Weather Service office.

Hat tip: Ian Livingston

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