Stories tagged tornado

It's been announced that the first major tornado study in the past ten years will get underway next year during the tornado season. All the details are right here. What I found especially interesting is that tornadoes in the southern U.S. are more deadly than northern tornadoes because they occur more frequently at night when people are sleeping and less likely to hear warnings. I think we were talking about that here on Buzz a while back.

You're probably like me and always felt that urban core areas were pretty safe from tornadoes. I seem to remember hearing TV meteorologists talk about an urban heat shield that deflected stormy weather around the heart of cities. But looking over this, that just might not be the case. In fact, significant tornadoes have hit large urban downtowns five times in the past 11 years.

This morning's headlines report that there are 48 dead from the squadron of tornadoes that swept across the southern U.S. last night. That seems like a huge number to me. Tornado incidents here in Minnesota in recent years rarely, if ever, have fatalities. What was so different last night down south? The news reports I've seen don't answer that question.

Tornado trail seen from space: Tens of thousands of trees were leveled June 7, 2007 in Wisconsin.
Tornado trail seen from space: Tens of thousands of trees were leveled June 7, 2007 in Wisconsin.

A tornado left this scar in a forested region of Wisconsin on June 7, 2007. Click on the picture to get a little larger view or here is a link to the original NASA photo.

Jan
18
2007

Coming soon to a neighborhood near you: Starting on Oct. 1, the National Weather Service will not be issuing severe weather warnings on a county basis. Rather, it will mark the area at risk for tornadoes, thunderstorms and other severe weather by geographical landmarks.
Coming soon to a neighborhood near you: Starting on Oct. 1, the National Weather Service will not be issuing severe weather warnings on a county basis. Rather, it will mark the area at risk for tornadoes, thunderstorms and other severe weather by geographical landmarks.
It used to drive me nuts.

Before I moved to St. Paul a couple years ago, I lived in a large county north of the Twin Cities. When severe stormy weather arose in one part of the county, the sirens would sound, even if the part of the county I lived in was calm and sunny.

That’s all going to change this fall.

The National Weather Service has announced that starting on Oct. 1, it will no longer be issuing severe weather warnings on a county-wide basis. Instead, it will be delineating storm warning areas by geographic landmarks, such as highways and rivers. Storms situations covered by the new warning system include tornadoes, thunderstorms, flash floods and marine hazards.

Watches will still cover entire counties, but those aren’t the conditions when the weather service sounds emergency alarms to take cover.

Even worse than my former personal situation north of the Twin Cities, under the old county-based storm warning system in some parts of the U.S., people could be alerted to a storm and still be more than 100 miles away from the action.

Weather Service Director David Johnson hopes that the new system won’t make people get complacent.
"I do not want to teach America to ignore warnings," Johnson said, so under the new program, "if you get the warning, there is a direct correlation to you being at risk."

Do you think you’ll be able to adjust to the new system? Remember, it doesn’t start until the fall, so any storms we have yet this summer will be reported under the old county-alerting system.