Wednesday, September 19, 2007

Storm-based warnings

Article from the AP wire: NWS Changes Severe Weather Alerts

I think this is a good thing. The NWS in Birmingham has been doing this for awhile now. I like it. It may help reduce the high number of false alarms and improve public perception. Many people complain when their county is under a warning and they have sunny skies because the severe weather may be 20 miles away. This may help improve the overall process.


BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (AP) — The National Weather Service is revamping the way it has issued severe weather warnings for decades with a new system designed to mark a geographic bull's eye where a storm will hit. The system, which goes into effect Oct. 1, switches from alerts based on county lines to notices aimed at specific communities, weather service officials said Tuesday. Using radar and computer modeling programs, the system is meant to predict the moment a storm will hit a community or even a certain crossroads. Known as storm-based warnings, the new alerts could reduce a warning area from thousands of square miles to a few hundred square miles, experts said.
The president of the Alabama Skywarn Foundation, Brian Peters, said the new system already is being used in some weather service warnings, which name a county being placed under alert and then specify a certain area that's particularly at risk. But, he said, highlighting too narrow an area for a warning could be hazardous since storms can change direction, and radar has its limits. An undetected tilt in a twister could send it toward an area that was not under a warning if alert boxes are too small. "That's what worries me, giving people a false sense of security," said Peters, a meteorologist with WBMA-TV in Birmingham who previously worked as the weather service's warning coordinator for Alabama. Jacks said new warnings will be issued as storms move.

1 comment:

Dewdrop said...

Pretty cool, I heard about this change coming about.