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Moore, OK Tornado 5/20/2013

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yep, there was a cell merge and an outflow boundary in the area.

You can see the cell in NE OK merge with the much larger cell.

I would bet there are a lot of examples of cell mergers/outflow interactions on these stand-alone violent tornado days where the synoptics are not overly favorable. I can think of a few others off the top of my head.

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I would bet there are a lot of examples of cell mergers/outflow interactions on these stand-alone violent tornado days where the synoptics are not overly favorable. I can think of a few others off the top of my head.

 

Here's a paper that deals with cell mergers and tornadoes that was written on the May 4th 2003 tornado outbreak.

 

https://ams.confex.com/ams/32Rad11Meso/techprogram/paper_96526.htm

 

 

 

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Thanks for reminding me of that video, JoMo. I uploaded it several months ago because I planned on adding it to my blog, but then I totally forgot about it. Anyway, there were several mergers west of Joplin and, at least to my untrained eye, it seemed as if each one intensified the main cell or at least improved the organization. From what I understand it can go either way. I'm not sure what causes some mergers to increase intensity/organization and others to significantly weaken, but it's a fascinating topic. I'm sure it's possible something similar happened yesterday. I downloaded the archived L2 radar but haven't looked at it yet.

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Thanks for reminding me of that video, JoMo. I uploaded it several months ago because I planned on adding it to my blog, but then I totally forgot about it. Anyway, there were several mergers west of Joplin and, at least to my untrained eye, it seemed as if each one intensified the main cell or at least improved the organization. From what I understand it can go either way. I'm not sure what causes some mergers to increase intensity/organization and others to significantly weaken, but it's a fascinating topic. I'm sure it's possible something similar happened yesterday. I downloaded the archived L2 radar but haven't looked at it yet.

You'd almost have to think of it how rogue waves behave. Soo many waves crash into each other and cancel each later out and not increase. However, there's a few waves where just the right amount of wave frequency conditions come together (speed,size, direction) and create that "perfect" combination to make a rouge wave. Maybe the same can be applied to cell mergers and such.

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At least one area of EF-5 damage has been found.

Edit...official:

@NWSNorman

At least one area of EF-5 damage was found by survey crews. Details to follow later. #okwx

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Second EF5 tornado in OK in 3 years.

 

Joe...you were on that thing, your first EF5.

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000

NOUS44 KOUN 211953

PNSOUN

PUBLIC INFORMATION STATEMENT

NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE NORMAN OK

250 PM CDT TUE MAY 21 2013

...NWS DAMAGE SURVEY FOR 5/20/2013 NEWCASTLE/MOORE TORNADO EVENT -

UPDATE 3...

...NWS DAMAGE SURVEY HAS NOW RATED THE NEWCASTLE/MOORE TORNADO AS EF5...

.OVERVIEW...

THE NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE DISPATCHED FOUR DAMAGE SURVEY TEAMS TO

THE PATH OF THE NEWCASTLE/MOORE OK TORNADO. NEW STATEMENTS WILL BE

ISSUED THROUGHOUT THE DAY AS THESE TEAMS REPORT FINDINGS. THIS

INFORMATION REMAINS PRELIMINARY AND THE INFORMATION HERE COULD

CHANGE.

.NEWCASTLE/MOORE TORNADO

RATING: EF5

ESTIMATED PEAK WIND: 200-210 MPH

PATH LENGTH /STATUTE/: 17 MILES

PATH WIDTH /MAXIMUM/: 1.3 MILES

FATALITIES: N/A

INJURIES: N/A

START DATE: MAY 20 2013

START TIME: 2:45 PM CDT

START LOCATION: 4.4 W NEWCASTLE /GRADY COUNTY /OK

START LAT/LON: 35.2580 / -97.6775

END DATE: MAY 20 2013

END TIME: 3:35 PM CDT

END LOCATION: 4.8 E OF MOORE OK /CLEVELAND COUNTY /OK

END LAT/LON: 35.3409 / -97.4007

SURVEY SUMMARY: EXPERTS SURVEYING IN MOORE HAVE DETERMINED DAMAGE IS

EF5 WITH MAXIMUM WINDS OVER 200 MPH. FOUR SURVEY TEAMS CONTINUE TO

INSPECT DAMAGE FROM THIS LONG TRACK TORNADO. INITIAL DAMAGE WAS

FOUND AROUND 4.4 MILES WEST OF NEWCASTLE...SOUTH OF TECUMSEH ROAD

ALSO KNOWN AS NW 16TH STREET AND EAST LAKE ROAD. THE TORNADO TRACKED

NE TO THE INTERSTATE 44 BRIDGE OVER THE CANADIAN RIVER AND THEN TOOK

A MORE EASTWARD TRACK THROUGH MOORE. TORNADO DAMAGE ABRUPTLY ENDS

0.3 MILES EAST OF AIR DEPOT ROAD AND N OF SE 134TH ST.

INITIALLY PRODUCING EF0 AND EF1 DAMAGE THE STORM INTENSIFIED VERY

RAPIDLY IN 4 MILES OR AROUND 10 MINUTES PRODUCING EF4 DAMAGE BEFORE

REACHING INTERSTATE 44. NUMEROUS INDICATIONS OF EF4 DAMAGE WITH SOME

AREAS NOW DETERMINED AT EF5 DAMAGE...THE HIGHEST CATEGORY ON THE EF

SCALE...WITH OVER 200 MPH WINDS.

ADDITIONAL INFORMATION SUCH AS MAXIMUM PATH WIDTH WILL BE UPDATED

AS THE TEAMS COMPLETE THEIR SURVEYS.

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Everyone talking about cell mergers etc. and their effects on supercells and tornadoes should read this paper (should be general access).

 

http://journals.ametsoc.org/doi/pdf/10.1175/2008MWR2391.1

Thanks for the link, Tony.

 

You know, I bet they could further evaluate/update this with some of the better radar programs/capabilities that are out there today.

 

Is it difficult to pick up gravity waves on reflectivity scans?

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The debris ball on radar looked like a hurricane in this particular image.

 

attachicon.gif2013_05_20_2025z_TOKC_radar_major_debris_ball.png

 

That was at the most intense part of the debris ball's appearance on radar (> 65dBZ). Judging from the map it looks like it was in the area of SE 4th and Bryant. That would have been just a few minutes after impacting Plaza Towers and Briarwood, which are just upstream on the track on the opposite (west) side of I-35. Very scary to think about what the radar is actually sampling there.

 

apparently some think the NWS should be standing outside trying to steer bad weather to unpopulated areas. 

 

NWS? Hell no! That sounds like a job for the chasers! :D

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That was at the most intense part of the debris ball's appearance on radar (> 65dBZ). 

 

Couple 70dbz bins in the middle of the massive debris ball just before that, slightly west of I-35:

 

UAIVpwI.png

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re: the earlier discussions comparing energy of tornado to a nuclear blast... obviously a tough comparison, with tornado energy dissipated over a long period of time and distance, but here's a comment from some met, can't vouch for the scientific basis:

 

http://www.breitbart.com/system/wire/DA6DRKTO2

(AP) Power of Moore tornado dwarfs Hiroshima bomb

 

By SETH BORENSTEIN
AP Science Writer
WASHINGTON
Wind, humidity and rainfall combined precisely to create the massive killer tornado in Moore, Okla. And when they did, the awesome amount of energy released over that city dwarfed the power of the atomic bomb that leveled Hiroshima.
 
Meteorologists contacted by The Associated Press used real time measurements to calculate the energy released during the storm's life span of almost an hour. Their estimates ranged from 8 times to more than 600 times the power of the Hiroshima bomb.

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Thanks for the link, Tony.

 

You know, I bet they could further evaluate/update this with some of the better radar programs/capabilities that are out there today.

 

Is it difficult to pick up gravity waves on reflectivity scans?

The wave ridges often show up as band of lighter reflectivity (15-30 dBZ), with convective cells occasionally forming along and just ahead of the wave ridges due to positive perturbations in vertical motion.  You also tend to see them in velocity as bands or surges of velocity along the wave ridge where you have positive perturbations in horizontal wind.

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Joe...you were on that thing, your first EF5.

Yea...Still can't believe I witnessed it.

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Update from Jeff L (Pro Met Harris County Flood Control District) Re Moore/Newcastle Tornado:

The attached PDF shows the Tornado Warning Operations yesterday at NWS Norman.

 

The twitter feed from their office shows the rapid ramp up in the severity of the situation between 230pm and 300pm. 

 

Radar loop:

http://www.srh.noaa.gov/oun/?n=events-20130520-radar

 

Survey:

EF 5 damage found in the Moore portion of the damage track. Initial NWS ground survey indicates the tornado was on the ground for 17 miles (starting 4.4 miles west of Newcastle, OK at 245pm and ending 4.8 miles east of Moore, OK at 335pm. The tornado appears to have been an EF0/EF 1 and then rapidly grew and intensified as it moved across I-44 with damage greatly increasing to EF 4. The tornado remained an EF 4 through nearly all of Moore, OK. Damage survey teams are still working on the Moore section of the damage path, but indicate EF 5 damage has been found. The tornado will be rated an EF 5 maximum rating in the City of Moore. Preliminary radar sampling of storm chaser equipment suggest wind speeds may have approached 270mph in portions of Moore.  Ground surveys are ongoing and this information is subject to change.

 

You Tube Tornado Video:

http://www.facebook.com/video/embed?video_id=10200597107263068

http://www.wmctv.com/category/240217/video-landing-page?clipId=8899079&autostart=true

http://www.facebook.com/video/embed?video_id=556484097727626

 

 

National Weather Service Norman Twitter feed:

 

* 12:08 p.m. -- @NWSNorman : Just launched a weather balloon. Cap is still there, but not strong and very breakable. Strong shear in place. #okwx

 

* 12:30 p.m. -- @NWSNorman: A tornado watch will be issued soon for much of Oklahoma. Stay alert! #okwx

 

* 12:51 p.m. -- @NWSNorman: 12:50pm - first signs on storm development on radar southeast of Lawton. #okwx

 

* 1:20 p.m. -- @NWSNorman: Tornado watch: rapid intense storm development expected next few hours, both near stalled front west of I-35, and near the dry line SW OK.

 

* 1:23 p.m. -- @NWSNorman: Isolated supercells likely along dry line with storms initially capable of very large hail. Tornado threat increases thru afternoon.

 

* 1:34 p.m. -- @NWSNorman: 1:33pm - rapidly intensifying storm near Pumpkin Center - NW Stephens Co - already producing nickel sized hail. #okwx

 

* 1:58 p.m. - @NWSNorman: 1:56pm - dry line visible on radar from SW of Minco to Elgin to Walters. Cold front from Minco to Yukon to Perkins. Areas S and E stay alert.

 

* 2:09 p.m. -- @NWSNorman: 2:08pm storms developing near Blanchard and Tuttle, moving NE at 30 mph. Stay alert Norman, Moore, and S OKC. Not severe yet. #okwx

 

* 2:13 p.m. -- @NWSNorman: 2:11pm - severe thunderstorm warning for OKC metro area. Severe storm near Bridge Creek moving NE 40 mph.#okwx

 

* 2:24 p.m. -- @NWSNorman: 2:22pm - things are getting very busy! Every storm that forms goes severe quickly. Please stay alert and be ready to act quickly! #okwx

 

* 2:30 p.m. -- @NWSNorman: 2:30pm - people in south OKC, Moore and north Norman need to be pay VERY close attention to the storm near Newcastle!! #okwx

 

* 2:34 p.m. -- @NWSNorman: One warning forecaster focusing on big supercell west of OKC. #okwx pic.twitter.com/MVbwWhvigl

 

* 2:39 p.m. -- @NWSNorman: 2:39pm - storm west of Newcastle is intensifying and showing some rotation. Stay alert! No tornado warning yet. #okwx

 

* 2:41 p.m. -- @NWSNorman: 2:40pm - TORNADO WARNING for OKC metro! Developing tornado near Newcastle moving E 20 MPH. Take shelter!! #okwx

 

* 2:46 p.m. -- @NWSNorman: 2:45pm - you DO NOT want to be in your car in a tornado! Stay where you are. Get in, get down and cover up. Tornado may affect Moore/S OKC

 

* 2:52 p.m. -- @NWSNorman: DO NOT take cover under highway overpasses!!! You will prevent people from getting to shelter. Get OFF THE ROAD and find a store, restaurant

 

* 2:56 p.m. -- @NWSNorman: 2:55pm - TORNADO! ON the north side of Newcastle moving east! #okwx

 

* 2:57 p.m. -- ‏@NWSNorman: Tornado north side of Newcastle at 2:56pm! pic.twitter.com/yryCp4WUW1

 

* 3:00 p.m. -- @NWSNorman: Large dangerous tornado at 3pm!!! pic.twitter.com/2hUzM0BV7k

 

* 3:01 p.m. -- @NWSNorman: 3:01pm - TORNADO EMERGENCY OKC METRO!!

 

* 3:03 p.m. -- @NWSNorman: 3:02pm - LARGE VIOLENT TORNADO moving toward Moore and SW OKC. Take cover right NOW!!! Do not wait!! #okwx

 

* 3:14 p.m. -- @NWSNorman: Large deadly tornado moving into Moore near 134th and Western. pic.twitter.com/YA2pzEegqG

 

* 3:19 p.m. -- @NWSNorman: 3:19pm - TORNADO Approaching area near Warren Theater in Moore! Please take shelter. This is as bad as it gets. #okwx

 

3:21 p.m. -- @NWSNorman: TORNADO EMERGENCY for the City of Moore. Get as far inside a sturdy building as you can. Cover up! Do not wait! #okwx

 

* 3:22 p.m. -- @NWSNorman: 3:22pm - the tornado is so large you may not realize it's a tornado. If you are in Moore, go to shelter NOW! #okwx

 

* 3:26 p.m. -- @NWSNorman: 3:25pm - tornado crossed I-35 in south Moore and is now moving along and south of 4th street. Take cover! #okwx

 

* 3:29 p.m. -- @NWSNorman: TORNADO EMERGENCY for Moore. 3:28pm pic.twitter.com/OiS2qIUcmc

 

 

* 3:34 p.m. -- @NWSNorman: 3:32pm - SE OKC is in immediate danger! Take cover. Large violent tornado moving your way. Do not wait to see the tornado! #okwx

 

* 3:35 p.m. -- @NWSNorman: 3:34pm - tornado moving toward lake Stanley Draper and will come VERY close to the KTLX radar site. #okwx

 

* 3:37 p.m. -- @NWSNorman: 3:36pm - tornado has roped out west of Lake Stanley Draper. #okwx

 

* ‏3:42 p.m. -- @NWSNorman: 3:40pm - Tornado could develop again at any time near Lake Stanley Draper! We are NOT in the clear yet! Stay alert! #okwx

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Update from Jeff L (Pro Met Harris County Flood Control District) Re Moore/Newcastle Tornado:

The attached PDF shows the Tornado Warning Operations yesterday at NWS Norman.

 

The twitter feed from their office shows the rapid ramp up in the severity of the situation between 230pm and 300pm. 

 

Radar loop:

http://www.srh.noaa.gov/oun/?n=events-20130520-radar

 

Survey:

EF 5 damage found in the Moore portion of the damage track. Initial NWS ground survey indicates the tornado was on the ground for 17 miles (starting 4.4 miles west of Newcastle, OK at 245pm and ending 4.8 miles east of Moore, OK at 335pm. The tornado appears to have been an EF0/EF 1 and then rapidly grew and intensified as it moved across I-44 with damage greatly increasing to EF 4. The tornado remained an EF 4 through nearly all of Moore, OK. Damage survey teams are still working on the Moore section of the damage path, but indicate EF 5 damage has been found. The tornado will be rated an EF 5 maximum rating in the City of Moore. Preliminary radar sampling of storm chaser equipment suggest wind speeds may have approached 270mph in portions of Moore.  Ground surveys are ongoing and this information is subject to change.

 

You Tube Tornado Video:

http://www.facebook.com/video/embed?video_id=10200597107263068

http://www.wmctv.com/category/240217/video-landing-page?clipId=8899079&autostart=true

http://www.facebook.com/video/embed?video_id=556484097727626

 

 

National Weather Service Norman Twitter feed:

 

* 12:08 p.m. -- @NWSNorman : Just launched a weather balloon. Cap is still there, but not strong and very breakable. Strong shear in place. #okwx

 

* 12:30 p.m. -- @NWSNorman: A tornado watch will be issued soon for much of Oklahoma. Stay alert! #okwx

 

* 12:51 p.m. -- @NWSNorman: 12:50pm - first signs on storm development on radar southeast of Lawton. #okwx

 

* 1:20 p.m. -- @NWSNorman: Tornado watch: rapid intense storm development expected next few hours, both near stalled front west of I-35, and near the dry line SW OK.

 

* 1:23 p.m. -- @NWSNorman: Isolated supercells likely along dry line with storms initially capable of very large hail. Tornado threat increases thru afternoon.

 

* 1:34 p.m. -- @NWSNorman: 1:33pm - rapidly intensifying storm near Pumpkin Center - NW Stephens Co - already producing nickel sized hail. #okwx

 

* 1:58 p.m. - @NWSNorman: 1:56pm - dry line visible on radar from SW of Minco to Elgin to Walters. Cold front from Minco to Yukon to Perkins. Areas S and E stay alert.

 

* 2:09 p.m. -- @NWSNorman: 2:08pm storms developing near Blanchard and Tuttle, moving NE at 30 mph. Stay alert Norman, Moore, and S OKC. Not severe yet. #okwx

 

* 2:13 p.m. -- @NWSNorman: 2:11pm - severe thunderstorm warning for OKC metro area. Severe storm near Bridge Creek moving NE 40 mph.#okwx

 

* 2:24 p.m. -- @NWSNorman: 2:22pm - things are getting very busy! Every storm that forms goes severe quickly. Please stay alert and be ready to act quickly! #okwx

 

* 2:30 p.m. -- @NWSNorman: 2:30pm - people in south OKC, Moore and north Norman need to be pay VERY close attention to the storm near Newcastle!! #okwx

 

* 2:34 p.m. -- @NWSNorman: One warning forecaster focusing on big supercell west of OKC. #okwx pic.twitter.com/MVbwWhvigl

 

* 2:39 p.m. -- @NWSNorman: 2:39pm - storm west of Newcastle is intensifying and showing some rotation. Stay alert! No tornado warning yet. #okwx

 

* 2:41 p.m. -- @NWSNorman: 2:40pm - TORNADO WARNING for OKC metro! Developing tornado near Newcastle moving E 20 MPH. Take shelter!! #okwx

 

* 2:46 p.m. -- @NWSNorman: 2:45pm - you DO NOT want to be in your car in a tornado! Stay where you are. Get in, get down and cover up. Tornado may affect Moore/S OKC

 

* 2:52 p.m. -- @NWSNorman: DO NOT take cover under highway overpasses!!! You will prevent people from getting to shelter. Get OFF THE ROAD and find a store, restaurant

 

* 2:56 p.m. -- @NWSNorman: 2:55pm - TORNADO! ON the north side of Newcastle moving east! #okwx

 

* 2:57 p.m. -- ‏@NWSNorman: Tornado north side of Newcastle at 2:56pm! pic.twitter.com/yryCp4WUW1

 

* 3:00 p.m. -- @NWSNorman: Large dangerous tornado at 3pm!!! pic.twitter.com/2hUzM0BV7k

 

* 3:01 p.m. -- @NWSNorman: 3:01pm - TORNADO EMERGENCY OKC METRO!!

 

* 3:03 p.m. -- @NWSNorman: 3:02pm - LARGE VIOLENT TORNADO moving toward Moore and SW OKC. Take cover right NOW!!! Do not wait!! #okwx

 

* 3:14 p.m. -- @NWSNorman: Large deadly tornado moving into Moore near 134th and Western. pic.twitter.com/YA2pzEegqG

 

* 3:19 p.m. -- @NWSNorman: 3:19pm - TORNADO Approaching area near Warren Theater in Moore! Please take shelter. This is as bad as it gets. #okwx

 

3:21 p.m. -- @NWSNorman: TORNADO EMERGENCY for the City of Moore. Get as far inside a sturdy building as you can. Cover up! Do not wait! #okwx

 

* 3:22 p.m. -- @NWSNorman: 3:22pm - the tornado is so large you may not realize it's a tornado. If you are in Moore, go to shelter NOW! #okwx

 

* 3:26 p.m. -- @NWSNorman: 3:25pm - tornado crossed I-35 in south Moore and is now moving along and south of 4th street. Take cover! #okwx

 

* 3:29 p.m. -- @NWSNorman: TORNADO EMERGENCY for Moore. 3:28pm pic.twitter.com/OiS2qIUcmc

 

 

* 3:34 p.m. -- @NWSNorman: 3:32pm - SE OKC is in immediate danger! Take cover. Large violent tornado moving your way. Do not wait to see the tornado! #okwx

 

* 3:35 p.m. -- @NWSNorman: 3:34pm - tornado moving toward lake Stanley Draper and will come VERY close to the KTLX radar site. #okwx

 

* 3:37 p.m. -- @NWSNorman: 3:36pm - tornado has roped out west of Lake Stanley Draper. #okwx

 

* ‏3:42 p.m. -- @NWSNorman: 3:40pm - Tornado could develop again at any time near Lake Stanley Draper! We are NOT in the clear yet! Stay alert! #okwx

The rapid tweets from NWSNorman are precise, engaging and exactly what they need to say.

The tweets certainly provided the correct context, tone and pace.

This is great to see.

Sent from my DROID RAZR using Tapatalk 2

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NBC nightly news said one of the children who died outside of the school was a three month old at a 7-Eleven.

As the mother of a 5 month old, my heart breaks for that family, and the other families whose children were taken away from them way too soon. :(

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NBC nightly news said one of the children who died outside of the school was a three month old at a 7-Eleven. As the mother of a 5 month old, my heart breaks for that family, and the other families whose children were taken away from them way too soon. :(

 

The mother was killed too. :(

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NBC nightly news said one of the children who died outside of the school was a three month old at a 7-Eleven. As the mother of a 5 month old, my heart breaks for that family, and the other families whose children were taken away from them way too soon. :(

The mother was killed too. :(

The news said four bodies were recovered

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The news said four bodies were recovered

 

 

Was this in the freezer at 7-Eleven?

 

Ya. They were talking about it on KFOR last night. Two of the four killed were the mother and daughter.

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Couple of lessons learned, speaking as a OEM staff member:

 

  • There is no replacement for a skilled meteorologist.  This event was well forecast going two days out at least.  This is even more of a reason to NOT cut funding to the National Weather Service or implement hiring freezes.
  • Social media is a vital toll in communicating timely weather information, and NOAA Weather Radio is an excellent supplement.
  • Media outlets will consistently dramatized and report misinformation.  Two excellent examples are broadcast meteorologists who assigned EF Ratings while the storm is still ongoing.  Another example is on camera television reports who report that all children at a school are accounted for and safe.  It is a Public Information Officer's worst nightmare to have to play catch up and damage control to rampant mis-information.
  • Self dispatching of personnel and apparatus will frequently happen after big events.  It must be the job of public safety officials to quickly communicate the need for only dispatched resources to respond.
  • Last, but most important observation in my opinion.  The U.S. National Weather Service has the most dedicated, skilled operational meteorologists in the world.  EURO vs. GFS aside, we are tops in operational forecasting when it counts.

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Couple of lessons learned, speaking as a OEM staff member:

 

  • There is no replacement for a skilled meteorologist.  This event was well forecast going two days out at least.  This is even more of a reason to NOT cut funding to the National Weather Service or implement hiring freezes.
  • Social media is a vital toll in communicating timely weather information, and NOAA Weather Radio is an excellent supplement.
  • Media outlets will consistently dramatized and report misinformation.  Two excellent examples are broadcast meteorologists who assigned EF Ratings while the storm is still ongoing.  Another example is on camera television reports who report that all children at a school are accounted for and safe.  It is a Public Information Officer's worst nightmare to have to play catch up and damage control to rampant mis-information.
  • Self dispatching of personnel and apparatus will frequently happen after big events.  It must be the job of public safety officials to quickly communicate the need for only dispatched resources to respond.
  • Last, but most important observation in my opinion.  The U.S. National Weather Service has the most dedicated, skilled operational meteorologists in the world.  EURO vs. GFS aside, we are tops in operational forecasting when it counts.

 

Bill Nye The Science Guy started off with global warming because of a severe tornado.  What a hack. 

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