There is no doubt that the weather awareness of folks who live in the central part of the country was very high over the weekend about what might occur. How many times have you heard, after a devastating tornado tears through a community something along the lines of “we had no idea this would happen” or “I was surprised by the bad weather…”. We hear things like this constantly and sometimes in the world of weather it’s a struggle HOW to get a message about an developing scenario that is potentially alarming (should things pan out). The folks at the Storm Prediction Center could not have done a better job with what happened over the weekend. I thought I could show you a graphic to illustrate that statement. Remember so far we’re now up to 131 tornado reports and 6 deaths from one of the tornadoes.
Here is the forecast from SPC leading up to the event itself.
The image at the lower right side is the verification…the red dots are the tornado reports. The red shaded boxes are the warnings that were issued Remember the warnings are issued by the LOCAL offices of the NWS. Whereas the watches and the lead up to the event is of the domain of the SPC, which is a branch of NOAA.
There were 124 Tornado Warnings issued by the local offices on Saturday. Not all were perfect, and they never are, but as the following graphic illustrates, the majority verified with a tornado report. The red shaded boxes are the warnings that were issued Remember the warnings are issued by the LOCAL offices of the NWS. Whereas the watches and the lead up to the event is of the domain of the SPC, which is a branch of NOAA.
The reason why I wanted to talk about this today is that you can clearly see that there was a great build-up to the event itself, hence a lot of weather awareness. This was “as perfect” of a scenario as what one could expect. I’m NOT saying however that all this was the sole reason why the death toll was lower that what one would expect from all these tornadoes, and the long track that the cells took. Most of the storms occurred in the rural areas, which is common when you think about all the real estate in the middle part of the country. I also think the media need to be careful concerning that connection.
While maybe not the sole reason, anytime you have an outbreak and only a few communities are directly impacted…that’s a positive. Unfortunately, you take that tornado that was approaching Salina and stick it in a populated area and there would’ve been many more deaths, regardless of the awareness or the timely warning. That is what happens when you have an EF4 coming through a populated area.