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John Wheeler, WDAY, Published April 23 2014

Weather Talk: Weather Service to add info to tornado warnings

Doppler radar can only “see” a tornado in rare cases. Most of the time, the National Weather Service will issue a tornado warning based on the knowledge that a tornado is “likely.”

The result is that more than half of the tornado warnings issued are false alarms. There is a good reason for this high number. If the National Weather Service were to wait for confirmation before issuing any warnings, there would usually not be time for people to prepare, and many more lives would be lost to tornadoes.

In our region of the country, approximately 97 percent of tornado deaths are caused by 13 percent of tornadoes – mostly those rated EF2 or higher.

So now the National Weather Service will add an “impact statement” to all tornado warnings to give people a clearer idea of how dangerous each warned storm is estimated to be. After all, some tornado warnings pose a more serious threat than others.


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