Monday, March 4, 2019

Unfortunate Stories From Yesterday's Tornadoes

Preliminary Plot of Tornado locations, warnings
and watches. More tornado locations will be
posted as surveys are completed. 
There Was Plenty of Warning
Unfortunately, the automatic 'there was no/little warning' computer key was being pushed on lazy reporters' word processors.
In the case of Lee County, Alabama, where the 23 fatalities occurred, it does appear correct there was a five-minute interval between the warning and the first damage. However, the deaths (as reported by the media) were farther east with more warning time. Also, five minutes is plenty of time to run into a basement or into a closet. There are many reports from people who heard the warning and took action to save their lives. This from The Birmingham News:
There is a least one study that shows that tornado warning lead times of more than 15 minutes cause deaths to increase. Evidently, that is because there is only so long people will stay in shelters.

Contempt For Their Fellow Countrymen 
Amidst this horrific news, I saw a tweet from the Washington Post yesterday about its initial story about the tornado. I went to read it because their weather coverage is usually excellent. However, their comments section was stomach-turning. Apparently, quite a few bigots and elitists read that newspaper.

This is a tiny sample of the hate expressed. It is appalling. If I were an editor of the Post, I would delete many of them.

No, Global Warming Did Not Cause These Tornadoes
A number of the Post commenters brought up global warming. Here are the facts: The number of strong tornadoes is down in recent years. 
And, there wasn't a single EF-4 or -5 tornado in the United States in 2017 or 2018 -- a record low number. Unfortunately, that record ended at 672 days as the Lee Co. Alabama tornado has been rated EF-4. Regardless, there is no evidence Sunday's tornadoes can be blamed on global warming. 
Weather science has gotten very good at forecasting and warning of these killer tornadoes. But, the last step belongs to you: Have a plan now for what you and your family will do if a tornado warning is issued for your home, school or workplace. You can find safety guidelines here. And, if you do not have a basement, you can find information about safe rooms here

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