Monday, September 18, 2023

Don't Count on the NWS to Warn You of Tornadoes

While we were attending the funeral last week, there was a damaging tornado near Killingly, CT on September 14. AccuWeather provided its clients in the area with 17 minutes of advance warning.

Meteorologist Dr. Craig Ceecee warned his twitter followers of an unwarned later tornado in the series.

Who wasn't warning? The National Weather Service. The CT tornado was on the ground doing damage for nine minutes. The NWS didn't warn until the tornado was 1 minute from lifting -- likely too late to do any good. 

I happy to try to assist the NWS in fixing these failures to perform its core mission. So far, they don't seem interested. This puts the onus on television and radio meteorologists to backstop the NWS's tornado warning program. 
This was radar during the fatal (4 dead) Matador, Texas, before it reached
the town and caused the deaths on 6/21/23.
There was no tornado warning in spite of the tornado in progress.
Full report is here
While I would leave the terms "watch" and "warning" to the NWS, I believe it is perfectly appropriate -- and, now a necessity --  in situations like the above to tell your audience, "radar indicates a tornado may be forming in this area and, if I were a resident, I would strongly consider taking shelter." When a tornado is this obvious, don't wait until the CC lowers.

For the public: if a storm situation "doesn't feel right to you," especially if you are under a tornado watch, take cover anyway. You cannot depend on the NWS anymore, at least until they make a concerted effort to fix this terribly serious issue. 

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