Thoughts on Yesterday's Tornadoes

The fact there were violent tornadoes and zero fatalities was a testament to the value of our tornado warning system. 

As long-time readers of this blog know, I like to review events where we've made forecasts of high-impact weather.

A violent tornado struck northeast Arkansas yesterday, including a strike on the City of Jonesboro.
There was extensive, severe damage. This violent tornado is rated EF-3 and, maybe, EF-4 intensity. [Note: the damage survey has been finished and it was an EF-3.]
Why you should be in indoor shelter during a tornado. Imagine
one of those pieces of metal slicing through you at 150 mph!
Take a look at what happened to this USPS truck after the tornado flung it through the air.
Via Twitter
In spite of the violence of this tornado, there were only six minor injuries. 
Some are pointing out the sheltering-in-place for the coronavirus helped. Undoubtedly it did because people at home can more easily, and quickly, monitor the weather and then shelter than those in a car or in an unfamiliar business or shopping mall.
That said, the NWS's excellent tornado watch and warning along with radio and TV meteorologists' live broadcasts showing the tornado in progress were key factors in people being able to prepare and then shelter when the moment came. 

This wasn't just true in Jonesboro, it was true throughout the region stricken by the many tornadoes.
Via Twitter
Above is Wayne Hart warning of the tornado(es) that struck in the lower Ohio Valley (don't yet know how many there were). The photo below is of the damage in nearby Henderson County, Indiana.
Indy Star
The National Weather Service is the very best bargain in the entire federal government. And, private sector meteorologists worked tirelessly yesterday.

While the above is congratulatory, I do need to state that my forecast of overnight tornadoes Friday night was inaccurate. While there were destructive hailstorms, as far as I know, no tornadoes occurred. I apologize for the inaccuracy.
Jefferson City Hailstorm, photo: KOMU TV
There is a lot of the 2020 tornado season remaining. Those who have not set up my tornado alarm - using your iPhone or Android - should do so. It can play a major role in keeping you safe. Via Twitter, here is a happy user in Nashville (read from the bottom up), after I suggested yesterday evening he use the alarm.
You get a subtle sound for a severe thunderstorm warning. For a tornado warning (or a tsunami or other life-threatening storm), you get a loud scream that will awaken you. The great thing about this warning tool is that GPS allows you to be warned at your specific location (whether you are at home, office or camping) with a minimum of false alarms.

There's more tornado season to come. Make sure you are prepared. And, we'll keep applying meteorological science to give you the information you need to keep you, your friends, and your family safe. 


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