How Far We’ve Come

According to Erickson and Brooks (2006), tornado warning lead time improved from 5 minutes in 1986 to 13 minutes in 2004. I imagine we’re doing even better today. We just witnessed one of the biggest tornado outbreaks in a long time in the southeastern 1/3 of the country. We also probably witnessed one of the best forecasted tornado outbreaks in a long time. Thus far, the death toll from over 200 reported tornadoes stands at under 20. While certainly tragic for those impacted, it is truly remarkable the amount of lives that were likely saved by the warning and lead time for the outbreak we just witnessed. A tremendous hat tip and thank you to the meteorologists at the Storm Prediction Center in Norman, OK, with well placed PDS (Particularly Dangerous Situation) Watches this week, as well as well placed moderate and high risk areas for severe weather. Also, a tremendous thank you and hat tip to the meteorologists at the local WFOs that issued the warnings and statements and no doubt saved dozens, if not hundreds of lives this week. And also a kudos to the TV meteorologists in the markets impacted. I’ve been in their shoes, and the amount of poise and knowledge they showed during this event was fantastic. Just rock solid, and they too got the NWS message out effectively and are also responsible for the success of how many lives were likely saved in this outbreak.

One of the books on my Amazon “wish list” right now (I have a backlog of things here now that I need to get to first), is the book “Warnings,” by Mike Smith. Mike has a blog that keeps up with some of the more interesting aspects of current weather and climate news as well. I suggest you bookmark it or add it to your Google Reader list. In his book, he discusses the cost benefit of improvements to meteorological warnings, as compared to some other fields and how it has truly saved countless lives and money. It looks like a solid read, with solid reviews. So I suggest you check it out.

Just scouring YouTube, here are some of the better videos I’ve found from the last couple days. (affiliated with Reed Timmer of the Discovery Channel show “Storm Chasers”) video of violent tornado near Jackson, MS yesterday:

Same site, video of tornado near Leakesville, MS last night.

Brief, but insane video from Raleigh, NC today…NOT recommending you do this…includes TOR, close lightning strike, and possibly another one or a power flash…can’t tell. Action packed 0:22

Insane damage from Raleigh, NC tornado

Video of the Raleigh tornado from Sanford, NC

Ominous view from S Saunders St. in Downtown Raleigh

And lastly, TOR footage from Oklahoma Thursday.

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