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Author Topic: Your Ideas on Better Severe Weather Communications Methodology  (Read 1747 times)

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Offline bugalou

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In the March 25th outbreak thread I mentioned I think the system if communicating tornadic risk should be done away with and redone.  This is my take on what would be better.  Share yours, or critique mine.  The end goal is to improve the current system to save lives.  I doubt the SPC is reading our board, but good ideas are good ideas.  Here is my thoughts:

1: Simplify the outlooks.  Focus on primary risks.  In this case tornadoes (but can be changed to derecho, etc).  More broken down statistical outlooks can be produced but should not be for the general public. Also consider updating more frequently and animating this map to show trends as models focus in on ultimate solution.


2: Cover all severe weather with one type of watch, use wording to focus on specific threats.


3. Use Tornado Emergency for confirmed tornadoes.



4. Use tornado warnings like a more focused "traditional" tornado watch.


5. Tornado Warning can also be used for unconfirmed radar indicated tornadoes.


There is also some discussion to be had about issuing new products like Landspout warnings for none mesocyclone spawned tornadoes like derecho bookends and waterspouts that go inland.
« Last Edit: March 26, 2021, 04:41:57 PM by bugalou »

Offline gcbama

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Re: Your Ideas on Better Severe Weather Communications Methodology
« Reply #1 on: March 26, 2021, 12:57:49 PM »
as far as communication of risks here is something to think about, nws offices (especially oxh) and local mets i guarantee you on this system tomorrow will say "damaging wind and hail are the primary threat" , well no... actually the reason the risk is considered enhanced tomorrow is for tornadoes, and the area is hatched so that means a possible strong tornado or two

Offline JayCee

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Re: Your Ideas on Better Severe Weather Communications Methodology
« Reply #2 on: March 26, 2021, 01:02:33 PM »
I do find the descriptive terms a bit clunky and confusing to the general public.  Marginal, slight, enhanced, moderate, high.  That's a lot of different terms to process, especially when all are used in one day like yesterday.  I've noticed many tv meteorologists attempt to simply it by using numbers, James Spann being one of them (Level 1, 2, 3 etc.).  Others use terms such as low vs. high risk. 
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Offline DocB

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Re: Your Ideas on Better Severe Weather Communications Methodology
« Reply #3 on: March 26, 2021, 01:19:40 PM »
As an engineer, I understand probabilities and risk assessments, but also as an engineer designing for public consumption; I like simplistic terms too.

The terminology 'watch', 'warning' and 'emergency' as Bugalou mentioned above fits that nicely for imminent, same day or within 24 hour events. I would even do one less severe level of 'caution' for 1-2+ day forecasts so people can be aware of any possibilities well in advance. Those 'cautions' should mention what type of alerts are possible during the event even if they never come to pass. 

'Caution' - would simply raise awareness for the public to pay attention to upcoming event.
'Watch' - Event about to begin for impacted area. Public to be on lookout for possible 'Warnings' or 'Emergency' alerts.
'Warning' - Severe event imminent, in process or likely to develop in specified time frame for impacted area. Public to to take appropriate action AND be on lookout for possible 'Emergency' alert
'Emergency' - Severe event confirmed to be in progress and public to take immediate action for impacted area.
« Last Edit: March 26, 2021, 01:27:49 PM by DocB »

Offline mempho

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Re: Your Ideas on Better Severe Weather Communications Methodology
« Reply #4 on: March 27, 2021, 11:53:14 AM »
So, I like the numbered system idea.  People generally understand the saffir-simpson scale and - just like that scale-  a 3/5 could be considered a "major" risk.

Also, the biggest killers are the large tornados that are potentially long track.  There's something wrong with our warning system if people are in Birmingham and watching a tornado exit Tuscaloosa and they are just sitting there waiting for it to come to them.  I tried to call a client on the north side of Birmingham that day while the TOR was just past Tuscaloosa. My message - evacuate now.  Their home got destroyed.

Why would you sit there and wait?

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Offline gcbama

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Re: Your Ideas on Better Severe Weather Communications Methodology
« Reply #5 on: March 27, 2021, 01:02:04 PM »
So, I like the numbered system idea.  People generally understand the saffir-simpson scale and - just like that scale-  a 3/5 could be considered a "major" risk.

Also, the biggest killers are the large tornados that are potentially long track.  There's something wrong with our warning system if people are in Birmingham and watching a tornado exit Tuscaloosa and they are just sitting there waiting for it to come to them.  I tried to call a client on the north side of Birmingham that day while the TOR was just past Tuscaloosa. My message - evacuate now.  Their home got destroyed.

Why would you sit there and wait?

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I am a proponent of if you have ample time 15-20 minutes and you know your roads well and you don't have a shelter/basement and there is a large violent tornado coming at you, evacuate....only for the ones who know what they are doing

Offline mempho

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Re: Your Ideas on Better Severe Weather Communications Methodology
« Reply #6 on: March 27, 2021, 03:40:37 PM »
I am a proponent of if you have ample time 15-20 minutes and you know your roads well and you don't have a shelter/basement and there is a large violent tornado coming at you, evacuate....only for the ones who know what they are doing
I don't think anyone who frequents this forum would purposefully wait in place in a location without underground shelter for an hour while a violent, long-track tornado closes in on them. 

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Offline pandadug

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Re: Your Ideas on Better Severe Weather Communications Methodology
« Reply #7 on: March 28, 2021, 08:25:25 PM »
I’m glad this topic has been brought up. For what it’s worth, I think the SPC’s rating system is terrible; what are they again? Slight, marginal, enhanced, high? Who thought up those terms? They would certainly confuse the average listener. What’s the difference between slight and marginal to them? Or enhanced and high? We need something very clear as to how dangerous a situation is: maybe slight, caution, dangerous and deadly or something like that. Or a number system, like has been suggested.

Offline gcbama

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Re: Your Ideas on Better Severe Weather Communications Methodology
« Reply #8 on: March 28, 2021, 09:02:53 PM »
I’m glad this topic has been brought up. For what it’s worth, I think the SPC’s rating system is terrible; what are they again? Slight, marginal, enhanced, high? Who thought up those terms? They would certainly confuse the average listener. What’s the difference between slight and marginal to them? Or enhanced and high? We need something very clear as to how dangerous a situation is: maybe slight, caution, dangerous and deadly or something like that. Or a number system, like has been suggested.

That is one issue to be sure, but what needs to be communicated more imo is that it is a RISK not really a forecast, as in a high risk for 30% tornado within a 25 mile point also means a 70% chance that won't occur.

Also, local mets need to to better in midstate on discussing that as well, and also when covering warnings they need to do better, on the cell approaching decatur county the first time mid state mets did not report that a "large tornado " was spotted until at least 10 minutes later...they were still relying on trying to find a couplet

Offline Bruce

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Re: Your Ideas on Better Severe Weather Communications Methodology
« Reply #9 on: March 29, 2021, 05:47:20 AM »
I’m glad this topic has been brought up. For what it’s worth, I think the SPC’s rating system is terrible; what are they again? Slight, marginal, enhanced, high? Who thought up those terms? They would certainly confuse the average listener. What’s the difference between slight and marginal to them? Or enhanced and high? We need something very clear as to how dangerous a situation is: maybe slight, caution, dangerous and deadly or something like that. Or a number system, like has been suggested.
marginal... slight... enhanced... moderate... high  in that order ... a lot average people think enhanced is a higher risk than moderate ... see the confusion.... much better go back basic three  slight. Moderate . High
BRING ON SEVERE WEATHER SEASON..

Offline gcbama

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Re: Your Ideas on Better Severe Weather Communications Methodology
« Reply #10 on: March 29, 2021, 08:07:57 AM »
marginal... slight... enhanced... moderate... high  in that order ... a lot average people think enhanced is a higher risk than moderate ... see the confusion.... much better go back basic three  slight. Moderate . High

If they were to ever go back to three tier, the slight needs to be named something else so people don't ignore it, even to me the word slight means the smallest of chances of severe weather....elevated or enhanced would work imo to replace the "slight" wording if they went back to three tier

Offline Thundersnow

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Re: Your Ideas on Better Severe Weather Communications Methodology
« Reply #11 on: March 29, 2021, 08:46:24 AM »
I just wonder how much SPC's outlooks matter to the general public outside the savvy weather-interested community, especially since local media outlets do their own "code red" or "4 warn" or what-have-you products. Those things get thrown around for low risks. There can be a marginal risk, and one of the local stations will "issue" a "code red" or some such for strong storms. The problem is that there doesn't seem to be a way to escalate the risk or really communicate degrees of risk. I'm not sure it's in most folks to differentiate between being told there's a risk of an isolated tornado and a high risk of violent tornadoes. To a lot of people, it's just going to translate as, "they're saying we'll have some bad weather tomorrow."

Offline gcbama

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Re: Your Ideas on Better Severe Weather Communications Methodology
« Reply #12 on: March 29, 2021, 08:56:11 AM »
I just wonder how much SPC's outlooks matter to the general public outside the savvy weather-interested community, especially since local media outlets do their own "code red" or "4 warn" or what-have-you products. Those things get thrown around for low risks. There can be a marginal risk, and one of the local stations will "issue" a "code red" or some such for strong storms. The problem is that there doesn't seem to be a way to escalate the risk or really communicate degrees of risk. I'm not sure it's in most folks to differentiate between being told there's a risk of an isolated tornado and a high risk of violent tornadoes. To a lot of people, it's just going to translate as, "they're saying we'll have some bad weather tomorrow."

i think the term isolated tornadoes needs to not be used when there is a hatched area for tornadoes....any tornado is isolated so to me that is redundant and may have people a bit less on guard, explain to ppl the threat for a few tornadoes but that it is just that a "potential threat" i think  they need to give the public more credit than they do

Also Tornado watches sometimes are overdone.... when a QLCS is moving through with primary threat of damaging winds and possibly a spin up a severe t'storm watch would suffice with wording of a potential for a spin up tornado embedded as well, maybe that would help on people being apathetic towards tornado watches?
« Last Edit: March 29, 2021, 09:15:52 AM by gcbama »

Offline Navywxman

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Re: Your Ideas on Better Severe Weather Communications Methodology
« Reply #13 on: March 29, 2021, 12:08:39 PM »
i think the term isolated tornadoes needs to not be used when there is a hatched area for tornadoes....any tornado is isolated so to me that is redundant and may have people a bit less on guard, explain to ppl the threat for a few tornadoes but that it is just that a "potential threat" i think  they need to give the public more credit than they do

Also Tornado watches sometimes are overdone.... when a QLCS is moving through with primary threat of damaging winds and possibly a spin up a severe t'storm watch would suffice with wording of a potential for a spin up tornado embedded as well, maybe that would help on people being apathetic towards tornado watches?
SVR warning can quite often have “tornado possible” in the deep text and sometimes is even said during the EAS broadcast.

OUN (Norman, OK) often has “severe thunderstorms can produce tornadoes with little advanced warning...” in some SVR warnings when conditions are potentially there, particularly in squall line/derecho events.


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Offline gcbama

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Re: Your Ideas on Better Severe Weather Communications Methodology
« Reply #14 on: March 29, 2021, 01:14:47 PM »
SVR warning can quite often have “tornado possible” in the deep text and sometimes is even said during the EAS broadcast.

OUN (Norman, OK) often has “severe thunderstorms can produce tornadoes with little advanced warning...” in some SVR warnings when conditions are potentially there, particularly in squall line/derecho events.


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thats awesome, i don't think i have ever seen that used here?

 

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