Last Updated: July 28, 2016 With spring on its way, speculation about the upcoming tornado season can't be far behind. In fact, it's already begun. And that gives people an important reminder to prepare to take action.
Meteorologists are considering weather data from the past few years and talking about the expected frequency of tornadoes in places like Oklahoma, which is smack dab in the center of "Tornado Alley." But they know it's tricky business.For example, in 2013, Oklahoma ended up with 79 tornadoes, the second highest number of tornadoes in the U.S., well above its yearly average of 57. But in 2014, the state set a record for the fewest twisters with just 16. The three-year drought is said to be one of several factors responsible for last year's downturn in severe weather. But no one can predict what will happen this year."Whether we see more in 2015 than we saw in 2014 there is no way to tell you in this point and time that we can say that with any kind of confidence," said Greg Carbin, meteorologist at KUTV.That view is backed up by the NOAA National Weather Service Storm Prediction Center. According to its
website: "Specific severe weather forecasting more than days in advance is little more than guessing, or using tornado climatology for the forecast area and time of year. For that reason, there is no such thing as a long range severe storm or tornado forecast."Nevertheless, engineers at the Radar Operations Center (ROC) in Norman, Okla., have developed new technology called SAILS that provides more frequent radar scans and more timely severe weather warnings.Developing new technology like SAILS is not the only thing the National Weather Service is doing to save lives in the event of a tornado. Officials there are now emphasizing the effects severe weather will have on people's lives -- and sharing the information via social media, such as Facebook and Twitter. The goal is to get people to take action to protect themselves from a storm.
“We can have the most accurate forecast, but if no one takes any action, it’s no forecast at all,” Laura Furgione, deputy director at the NWS, told the crowd at the National Tornado Summit yesterday.
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