Less Accurate Tornado Warnings

There was a troubling article in the Washington Post Thursday documenting the trend toward less accurate tornado warnings from the National Weather Service as compared with just ten years ago. 
You can find the article here. Jason Samenow wrote a great article on a complex subject.

However, there is one comment I wish to make and that is to advance another hypothesis as to the startling decline in NWS tornado warning accuracy: retirements. Most of my contemporaries from college and elsewhere who spent their careers in the National Weather Service retired several years ago. As a friend of mine says, "you can't teach experience." So, I believe the NWS may have an "experience gap" in addition to one or more of reasons offered in the article.

At AccuWeather Enterprise Solutions, we do not have the decline in tornado warning accuracy that is affecting the National Weather Service. If you wish to have excellent quality tornado warnings and warnings of other storms for your business or enterprise, please call us. The contact information can be found at the orange link.

P.S. To Harold who commented below. May I respectfully suggest you read the article again? A lead time of six minutes recently as compared with 13-15 minutes before is a less useful warning. A 20 point decline in issuing a tornado warning before one appears (POD=probability of detection) against a 5 point improvement in false alarm rate (FAR) is a less accurate warning however you define it.


  1. The article does not discuss a trend towards less accurate warnings. It looks at a decrease in POD and a decrease in FAR consistent with a change in the threshold for issuing warnings consistent with lowering false alarms.

  2. I think the older forecasters have a better understanding of weather than the newbies who think its all about graphics from computer output.


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