Can Meteorologists Really Forecast Tornadoes?

As Kathleen and I were in a McDonalds at McPherson, Kansas, checking data yesterday [May 1], I overhead the following conversation from two men seated behind us:
  • First man,"Looks like we might have tornadoes later today."
  • Second man, "Aw, those weathermen don't know anything; must be nice getting paid for being wrong all the time."
This attitude is not just annoying to meteorologists, it is dangerous. If you do not believe meteorologists are skillful at forecasting tornadoes, you are less likely to prepare and then shelter when a warning is issued. 

So, how good or bad was yesterday's forecast?

Below is my tornado forecast from yesterday:

And, from the SPC, the red dots are where tornadoes occurred yesterday.

As far as I can tell, every tornado was in the tornado forecast area. 21 for 21 tornadoes. The forecast was posted on this blog at 9:50am. Again, per SPC, the first of the tornadoes occurred at 5:37pm: nearly 8 hours of advance notice!

Am I boasting? Yes! But, there is a bigger point. Meteorologists are quite good at forecast tornadoes. When a watch is issued, please begin paying attention at the first sign of the approach of a thunderstorm. Then, take cover if a warning is issued.


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