75 Years Ago Today...

Five days before,
a highly damaging tornado struck Tinker.
Seventy-five years ago today, an experimental and successful
forecast of a tornado. 
...the first successful tornado forecast of the modern era* occurred at Tinker AFB outside of Oklahoma City. 

I tell the emotional and humorous story of two Air Force meteorologists ordered to make an impossible forecast in Warnings: The True Story of How Science Tamed the Weather. My book tells the "human" side of the story (I was privileged to know then-Col. Bob Miller and we talked about the forecast on more than one occasion). There is a shorter summary of what occurred, here. With that forecast, Miller and (then) Lt. Ernie Fawbush made what would have been the first tornado "watch." The meteorological details are here

As Wiki (orange link) describes it, the forecasts were kept secret for quite a while. When word got out, WKY-TV and their chief meteorologist Harry Volkman came up with a surreptitious way of getting Miller's forecasts. WKY broadcast the forecasts and, when strong thunderstorms approached Oklahoma City, broadcast the first tornado warning. 

The Tinker AFB forecast led to the Air Force setting up a global severe weather forecast organization which led to the Weather Bureau setting up a national tornado forecast center in Kansas City (now in Norman, Oklahoma). 

*The Army Signal Corps made some experimental tornado forecasts in the 1880's. 


Popular posts from this blog

[1:10am Update] Tornado Forecast for Rest of the Night

First Tornado Watch of the Day Issued

Hilary's Forecast Path Shifts West; Updated 9:20am PDT