National Weather Service May Change Tornado Codes

This is an archived article and the information in the article may be outdated. Please look at the time stamp on the story to see when it was last updated.
Data pix.

KANSAS CITY, Mo. -- Dozens of tornado warning were put out on Tuesday in Texas. In 2013, they could sound a little different thanks to an experiment going on in Kansas City.

Five weather service offices in Kansas and Missouri have teamed up to test a new way to warn people of dangerous and deadly storms.

"The experiment is designed to give people more information so that we hope they'll make better informed decisions," said Julie Adolphson with the National Weather Service.

The experiment involved the wording and how the storm will affect people.

"That includes the impact of a significant or catastrophic tornado will now be provided so people will hopefully take that to the point they know they are in immediate and imminent danger,"  Adolphson said.

Adolphson is with the National Weather Service in Pleasant Hill. Her office and those in Wichita, Topeka, Springfield and St. Louis are all taking part in the experiment through November. The idea came about during the assessment after the Joplin tornado. The results indicated people have "warning fatigue." Time after time people were interviewed and surveyed said they hear the warnings and hear the sirens, but never see a tornado. Many say they also need proof they are in danger before taking shelter.

"This impact based warning program is designed to help give people a sense of credible information that they can make quicker and better informed decisions and take action," she said.

In Joplin, 161 people died as a result of the May 22, 2011 tornado. Even though there were storms in the area, many felt safe as the weather passed to the north. The tornado that hit Joplin literally came out of thin air from the south.

"The Joplin tornado went from nothing to an EF 4 level quicker than any scientist has ever scene," she said.

The bottom is that if we have severe weather in the area, don't dismiss it. If you hear a FOX 4 meteorologist say words like significant or catastrophic, be ready to move fast. The National Weather Service will look at how things go and it's possible the new phrasing could be used nationwide in 2013.

Tracking Coronavirus

More Tracking Coronavirus



More News