Archive for Monday, March 5, 2012

National Weather Service reviews decisions on tornado warnings

March 5, 2012

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— Meterologists in the Topeka bureau of the National Weather Service say the tornado that hit Harveyville last week formed too quickly to have time to issue a warning.

The EF2 tornado killed one person, injured 11 others and damaged about 40 percent of the Wabaunsee County town last Tuesday.

Chad Omitt, meteorologist in charge of the Topeka branch, says the storm that had produced two tornadoes in Reno County appeared to be weakening. And radar did not show the rotation until the tornado was directly over Harveyville.

The Wichita Eagle reports that another problem was how quickly everything happened. The storm went from looking like a thunderstorm on one radar scan to showing a tornado in another scan four minutes later. On the next scan, the tornado was gone.

Comments

Hooligan_016 3 years, 4 months ago

In the definition for a "Severe T-Storm" warning from the NWS, it includes the possibility of rapidly producing tornadoes. It's terrible what happened there, but people need to take the warnings seriously and take shelter when threats come their way.

Randall Barnes 3 years, 4 months ago

they are called outdoor warning sirens for a reason.i just went out and bought a weather radio for my house.

puddleglum 3 years, 4 months ago

rando said it!

bring back the T-3000 thunderbolt series that actually push air through the chopper and out the horn. these electronic ones here in douglas county are weak! there is a beautiful thunderbolt out east of linwood on 32

puddleglum 3 years, 4 months ago

umm. I meant 1003T thunderbolts....must have been terminator-thinking again

Tonie Barnett Bruns 3 years, 4 months ago

They certainly aren't designed to be heard outdoors, obviously most people aren't outside during thunderstorms and people are not expected to go outdoors to try to hear a siren. I think it is a reasonable expectation that a person can hear a tornado siren within the interior of their home and we should be able to hear them within our homes. Obviously there is an issue with that in some areas and that should be addressed.

Erin Graham 3 years, 4 months ago

Tornado sirens here (and in many places) were designed by the manufacturer to be heard OUTDOORS within approx. a one mile radius. Lady Luck- PLEASE read this. And, btw, it's not unique to Douglas County, it's pretty much the norm everywhere. http://www.douglas-county.com/depts/em/em_outdoorwarningsystem.aspx

Here is the tornado siren coverage map- the red dots are the tornado sirens, the lightly green tinted areas are covered areas. Honestly, Douglas County is probably one of the best covered counties in the region/nation. http://www.douglas-county.com/depts/em/docs/pdf/outdoorwarningsystemmap.pdf

Please, for the sake of yourself, and anyone else that may live with you, invest in a weather radio. Now-days they're programmable to what specific warnings you want and your exact area.

Laura Wilson 3 years, 4 months ago

Regardless of whether or not the sirens are meant to be heard indoors they used to be. I live in the house I grew up in; the siren is in the exact same place it was in the 1970s. As a kid and teenager I could always hear the siren while indoors, tv on, radio on, winds bashing against the house, whatever. I never hear it now.

I finally got a weather radio last year as the sirens are worthless. It went off several times last Wednesday, finally alerting me to the tornado warning in southern Douglas County near Globe a full ten minutes before Channel 6 said anything around 10:10 that night. In fact, the Channel 6 guy started talking about the weather as if it was normal, then quickly went to the radar and started talking about locations of possible rotation about three miles south of my house so I went to the basement for ten minutes.

On the other hand, the weather radio never said anything about northern Douglas County being in a tornado warning.

So, I don't know who to rely on. I'll just have as many options, radio included if my cable goes out, and weather channel on my phone and on my laptop, as I can have running at one time to be on the safe side.

I have a feeling, since it started so early, this is going to be a bad storm season.

Erin Graham 3 years, 4 months ago

I'm not sure about this particular situation. But, if your weather radio is recent, it should be programmable to your location. If NWS issues a warning polygon that affects those coordinates, it -should- alert you.

Randall Barnes 3 years, 4 months ago

for those of you that have no clue or are just under educated or want to know more here is a good article. http://davieswx.blogspot.com/

Erin Graham 3 years, 4 months ago

Jon Davies rocks. He gives probably the most unbiased and accurate write-ups of just about anything weather-related.

Curtis Lange 3 years, 4 months ago

As others have said, sirens were not designed to be heard indoors. It's just the excuse used by people who don't pay attention to other news sources such as radio and television.

puddleglum 3 years, 4 months ago

wow, now we have siren-design experts. I was unaware that sirens were designed for only people outdoors.

fact is, the thunderbolt's main marketing feature was its high sound output (also known as volume) in order to provide as strong a signal possible.
these were designed for nuclear attack. If you can't grasp the facts, please go back to your nimbocumulus bedroom and dream about seeing a real RFD or Bear cage. Leave the tough stuff up to the real spotters.

and why pay attention to local weather news? unless you are looking for some laughs-its totally worthless.

melott 3 years, 4 months ago

Regarding weather radio: It's the way to go, they come on when there's a signal, except that Lawrence has weak, spotty reception. Some can get Topeka, some Pleasant Hill, or some neither one. And, at the moment, the Topeka one is down for repairs.

We need a broadcasting tower near Lawrence.

Erin Graham 3 years, 4 months ago

In regards to LadyLuck and Reneek: Tornado sirens here (and in many places) were designed by the manufacturer to be heard outdoors within approx. a one mile radius. Lady Luck- PLEASE read this. And, btw, it's not unique to Douglas County, it's pretty much the norm everywhere. http://www.douglas-county.com/depts/e...

Here is the tornado siren coverage map- the red dots are the tornado sirens, the lightly green tinted areas are covered areas. Honestly, Douglas County is probably one of the best covered counties in the region/nation. http://www.douglas-county.com/depts/e...

Please, for the sake of yourself, and anyone else that may live with you, invest in a weather radio. Now-days they're programmable to what specific warnings you want and your exact area.

Erin Graham 3 years, 4 months ago

And certainly, there are flaws... such as melott mentioned, and that conditions outside can deteriorate sound waves reaching your ears.. Curtis Lange nailed it right on the head- Just pay attention and you'll be golden!!!! The single Best way to ensure your own safety and well being?? Take responsibility for it!

Linda Endicott 3 years, 4 months ago

If warning sirens outside are only designed to be heard outside, then of what earthly use are they to anyone? Why are we paying so much for a system that doesn't warn anybody?

I don't know about you, but when it's raining heavy, the wind is blowing strong and there's lots of lightning, I'm not going to be outside waiting for it...so why DON'T they design sirens that can be heard inside?

Local weather broadcasts aren't worth much, either, when the electricity and/or the cable can go out in an instant...and weather radios are fine, if you can afford the $30 for one...unfortunately, a lot of people can't...

Erin Graham 3 years, 4 months ago

Ever caught in a storm while driving? Ever been outside in a storm that doesn't seem "that" bad?

Funny thing is, a lot of people that complain about the 'value' of sirens are also the first to complain if something happens and the sirens weren't sounded.

Erin Graham 3 years, 4 months ago

And you're right, electricity does go out which impacts the reach of tv broadcast. Hopefully if it's that bad out, you know that you should probably be inside and be taking some sort of precaution, maybe have a backup method of warning such as text alerts (which can be obtained through various services for no additional cost if you have a text plan). Pretty much every warning system has a flaw of some sort. We have much better warning systems in place now than even 10 years ago, though.

Mike Ford 3 years, 4 months ago

I was watching the storm develop out west on tv and my wife got home from her language class. We already had the cars under cover for fear of hail. I figured we'd have straight line winds and hail but it was scary soupy humid. She wasn't home too long and the siren went off up the street in Baldwin. When they said the storm was going 80 mph and I knew there was no outrunning it so we went in the back room and covered up with a blanket and our dogs. It basically crossed 56 west of 59 and went across 59 a mile or two above the junction towards Vinland. This was the storm because the tornado was already back in the clouds. SCARY.

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