Tennessee Weather Forum

Weather Forecasting and Discussion => Severe Weather => Topic started by: bugalou on March 26, 2021, 12:46:36 PM

Title: Your Ideas on Better Severe Weather Communications Methodology
Post by: bugalou on March 26, 2021, 12:46:36 PM
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.
(https://i.imgur.com/xvRnjUb.png)

2: Cover all severe weather with one type of watch, use wording to focus on specific threats.
(https://i.imgur.com/u6LOqwB.png)

3. Use Tornado Emergency for confirmed tornadoes.

(https://i.imgur.com/C1MbvVE.png)

4. Use tornado warnings like a more focused "traditional" tornado watch.
(https://i.imgur.com/OOMi7CA.png)

5. Tornado Warning can also be used for unconfirmed radar indicated tornadoes.
(https://i.imgur.com/hhz0G9l.png)

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.
Title: Re: Your Ideas on Better Severe Weather Communications Methodology
Post by: gcbama 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
Title: Re: Your Ideas on Better Severe Weather Communications Methodology
Post by: JayCee 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. 
Title: Re: Your Ideas on Better Severe Weather Communications Methodology
Post by: DocB 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.
Title: Re: Your Ideas on Better Severe Weather Communications Methodology
Post by: mempho 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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Title: Re: Your Ideas on Better Severe Weather Communications Methodology
Post by: gcbama 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?

Sent from my SM-G950U using Tapatalk

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
Title: Re: Your Ideas on Better Severe Weather Communications Methodology
Post by: mempho 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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Title: Re: Your Ideas on Better Severe Weather Communications Methodology
Post by: pandadug 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.
Title: Re: Your Ideas on Better Severe Weather Communications Methodology
Post by: gcbama 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
Title: Re: Your Ideas on Better Severe Weather Communications Methodology
Post by: Bruce 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
Title: Re: Your Ideas on Better Severe Weather Communications Methodology
Post by: gcbama 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
Title: Re: Your Ideas on Better Severe Weather Communications Methodology
Post by: Thundersnow 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."
Title: Re: Your Ideas on Better Severe Weather Communications Methodology
Post by: gcbama 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?
Title: Re: Your Ideas on Better Severe Weather Communications Methodology
Post by: Navywxman 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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Title: Re: Your Ideas on Better Severe Weather Communications Methodology
Post by: gcbama 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?
Title: Re: Your Ideas on Better Severe Weather Communications Methodology
Post by: Thundersnow on March 29, 2021, 01:27:54 PM
thats awesome, i don't think i have ever seen that used here?

I've seen it. Actually, I've found this text quite common in severe thunderstorm warnings (at least it used to be):

"Remember, severe thunderstorms can and occasionally do produce tornadoes."

That's especially the case when a tornado watch is in effect and/or it's understood that conditions on the given day are potentially favorable for tornadoes.

I think (if I'm not wrong), I have even seen the above text included as part of both severe thunderstorm watches and warnings when discussing the storm risks (such as large hail and damaging winds).

Watch/warning text used to be so "canned" that I can just about rattle off a watch text that was typical of the 1980s and 1990s.

"Large hail, dangerous lightning, and damaging thunderstorm winds are possible in the watch area. Persons in this area should be on the lookout for threatening weather conditions and listen to later statements and possible warnings. Remember- severe thunderstorms can and occasionally do produce tornadoes. The counties included in the severe thunderstorm watch area include..."

I listened to an abnormal amount of NOAA Weather Radio as a teen.  ::lookaround::

I think at one point my dream job would have been one of the NOAA Weather Radio broadcaster guys... just to read off those text issuances, with all the dramatic inflection I could muster.

I can share that here, because I think some here can understand.
Title: Re: Your Ideas on Better Severe Weather Communications Methodology
Post by: Thundersnow on March 29, 2021, 01:39:19 PM
Here you go... from the wayback machine (nearly 20 years ago)... here was a Severe Thunderstorm Watch text:

Quote
URGENT - IMMEDIATE BROADCAST REQUESTED
SEVERE THUNDERSTORM WATCH NUMBER 257
STORM PREDICTION CENTER NORMAN OK
534 PM CDT SUN MAY 20 2001

THE STORM PREDICTION CENTER HAS ISSUED A
SEVERE THUNDERSTORM WATCH FOR PORTIONS OF

   NORTHERN ALABAMA                           
   EXTREME NORTHEAST MISSISSIPPI                       
   WESTERN AND MIDDLE TENNESSEE                          

EFFECTIVE THIS SUNDAY AFTERNOON AND EVENING FROM 600 PM UNTIL 1000
PM CDT.

HAIL TO 1 INCH IN DIAMETER...THUNDERSTORM WIND GUSTS TO 70
MPH...AND DANGEROUS LIGHTNING ARE POSSIBLE IN THESE AREAS.

THE SEVERE THUNDERSTORM WATCH AREA IS ALONG AND 80 STATUTE MILES
EAST AND WEST OF A LINE FROM 55 MILES SOUTH OF MUSCLE SHOALS
ALABAMA TO 40 MILES NORTH NORTHEAST OF NASHVILLE TENNESSEE.

REMEMBER...A SEVERE THUNDERSTORM WATCH MEANS CONDITIONS ARE
FAVORABLE FOR SEVERE THUNDERSTORMS IN AND CLOSE TO THE WATCH AREA.
PERSONS IN THESE AREAS SHOULD BE ON THE LOOKOUT FOR THREATENING
WEATHER CONDITIONS AND LISTEN FOR LATER STATEMENTS AND POSSIBLE
WARNINGS.  SEVERE THUNDERSTORMS CAN AND OCCASIONALLY DO PRODUCE
TORNADOES.


OTHER WATCH INFORMATION...THIS SEVERE THUNDERSTORM WATCH REPLACES
SEVERE THUNDERSTORM WATCH NUMBER 254.  WATCH NUMBER 254 WILL NOT BE
IN EFFECT AFTER 600 PM CDT.  CONTINUE...WW 255...WW 256...

DISCUSSION...BAND OF STRONG/SEVERE STORMS ASSOCIATED WITH LONG-
LIVED MESOSCALE COMPLEX IS EXPECTED TO CONTINUE EWD INTO MODERATELY
UNSTABLE AIR MASS WITH SBCAPE TO 2000 J/KG.  WINDS ALOFT ARE
INCREASING FROM THE SOUTHWEST WITH 30-40 KT IN THE MIDDLE LEVELS
PROVIDING SUFFICIENT SHEAR TO MAINTAIN THREAT FOR DAMAGING WINDS
AND HAIL.


AVIATION...A FEW SEVERE THUNDERSTORMS WITH HAIL SURFACE AND ALOFT
TO 1 INCH EXTREME TURBULENCE AND SURFACE WIND GUSTS TO 60 KNOTS.
A FEW CUMULONIMBI WITH MAXIMUM TOPS TO 500.  MEAN STORM MOTION
VECTOR 24025.


...WEISS

https://www.spc.noaa.gov/products/watch/2001/ww0257.html
Title: Re: Your Ideas on Better Severe Weather Communications Methodology
Post by: gcbama on March 29, 2021, 01:44:49 PM
I've seen it. Actually, I've found this text quite common in severe thunderstorm warnings (at least it used to be):

"Remember, severe thunderstorms can and occasionally do produce tornadoes."

That's especially the case when a tornado watch is in effect and/or it's understood that conditions on the given day are potentially favorable for tornadoes.

I think (if I'm not wrong), I have even seen the above text included as part of both severe thunderstorm watches and warnings when discussing the storm risks (such as large hail and damaging winds).

Watch/warning text used to be so "canned" that I can just about rattle off a watch text that was typical of the 1980s and 1990s.

"Large hail, dangerous lightning, and damaging thunderstorm winds are possible in the watch area. Persons in this area should be on the lookout for threatening weather conditions and listen to later statements and possible warnings. Remember- severe thunderstorms can and occasionally do produce tornadoes. The counties included in the severe thunderstorm watch area include..."

I listened to an abnormal amount of NOAA Weather Radio as a teen.  ::lookaround::

I think at one point my dream job would have been one of the NOAA Weather Radio broadcaster guys... just to read off those text issuances, with all the dramatic inflection I could muster.

I can share that here, because I think some here can understand.

I do remember bill hall used to say, if you are under a severe t'storm warning with a tornado watch at same time, treat it like a tornado warning...
Title: Re: Your Ideas on Better Severe Weather Communications Methodology
Post by: schneitzeit on March 29, 2021, 02:21:06 PM
I do remember bill hall used to say, if you are under a severe t'storm warning with a tornado watch at same time, treat it like a tornado warning...

I miss that man. He died too young.
Title: Re: Your Ideas on Better Severe Weather Communications Methodology
Post by: gcbama on March 30, 2021, 08:36:59 AM
One thing else that spc tends to do at times is put out a high risk /moderate right off the bat on the day of an event that could be a high risk/moderate....i would think it MIGHT be better to wait until the mid morning update to put out a high risk so you can analyze morning data, see how trends are going the day of and let it evolve.

This past enhanced event i believe was handled very well by spc, didn't go overboard to moderate and things played out like an enhanced risk should.

An example of evolving through the day would be Dec 23 2015, started as enhanced, then west TN got included in moderate and then when it was obvious it would extend to middle TN they expanded it again.

Title: Re: Your Ideas on Better Severe Weather Communications Methodology
Post by: gcbama on April 07, 2021, 04:36:48 PM
today is another example imo of spc way overshooting things, that arkansas tornado watch has likelihood of HIGH for tornadoes?

Based on their own spc forecasts a "big" tornado threat was never there so that was just an overreach to state HIGH probs for tornadoes in that watch imo?

Yet again it's just the messaging has been off this year so far quite a few times.....

yes that was a very over hyped tornado watch yet again, this time i just don't get it, it never looked like parameters were there for anything like that
Title: Re: Your Ideas on Better Severe Weather Communications Methodology
Post by: bugalou on April 09, 2021, 02:58:24 PM
One thing to keep in mind in all this is my comments and idea posted is targeted at the general public and how best to prepare them.
There is absolutely nothing wrong with the SPC producing more detailed and advanced graphics and products for other mets, chasers, and enthusiasts.  I just think there is a suite of products that should be tailored to the public in general.  I am quite partial to my idea for the general public and really hope the SPC and the NWS see it and at least consider some of my thoughts.
Title: Re: Your Ideas on Better Severe Weather Communications Methodology
Post by: gcbama on April 09, 2021, 03:07:10 PM
One thing to keep in mind in all this is my comments and idea posted is targeted at the general public and how best to prepare them.
There is absolutely nothing wrong with the SPC producing more detailed and advanced graphics and products for other mets, chasers, and enthusiasts.  I just think there is a suite of products that should be tailored to the public in general.  I am quite partial to my idea for the general public and really hope the SPC and the NWS see it and at least consider some of my thoughts.

yesterday kind of stunk as well as far as marginal /slight risk border tornadoes....we all pay attention to most any risk, but the general population is never going to pay attention to marginal risk and pay very little attention to slight risk, even though it was a good risk outline, people were caught off guard , there is no great answer whenever there are overreaches like earlier this week on the tornado watch bust and then you have a tornado occur when there was not even a severe tstorm watch, it's hard
Title: Re: Your Ideas on Better Severe Weather Communications Methodology
Post by: bugalou on April 09, 2021, 04:22:26 PM
As mentioned in the general news forum I posted a link to this thread to a few mets I follow on Twitter.  I invited them to join the forum but they may just skim it and talk privately to me over on twitter.  In any case lets be respectful to all organizations involved with this subject including the the NWS, specific NWS offices, the SPC, private, and local news mets etc.  There is nothing wrong with disagreeing and constructive feed back but lets keep it clean and respectful. Also understand they may have to be careful with their words as some of this stuff is controversial in some circles and this is their careers. Knowing most of you guys for years, I have very little concern with any shenanigans as you guys are all great people (except that Eric guy psssh.  ::rofl::) . 

My goal with this thread has been to open up a conversation and to help us all not think like meteorologists and/or weather geeks but to consider every day Joes and Janes and how they look at these products.  Yes its very easy to get frustrated and tell them to "act like adults" but that attitude has proven time and time again to not work.  I'm not looking to dumb down the products the SPC and NWS use.  I am looking to improve and create a system custom tailored to  the general public and giving them the best chance of surviving severe weather, especially tornadoes.  We can still have our probabilistic charts with dashed areas, sigtor values, and skew ts and they will continue to provide critical info to those of us in the know.  We just need to have something else for none weather folks that's purely simple, brief, and informative.

I have become increasingly passionate about this subject and am becoming a bit of an advocate trying to spread the word and get the conversations going.  My solution is likely not "the" solution but it may be add key parts to an overall better product.
Title: Re: Your Ideas on Better Severe Weather Communications Methodology
Post by: Eric on April 12, 2021, 11:21:08 AM
Knowing most of you guys for years, I have very little concern with any shenanigans as you guys are all great people (except that Eric guy psssh.  ::rofl::) . 

(https://media.giphy.com/media/tq3cHQraXhHbuDxkUS/giphy.gif)