14B.3 An Introduction to the Cultural and Philosophy Changes Needed to Improve Tornado Warnings

Thursday, 10 November 2016: 12:00 AM
Pavilion Ballroom West (Hilton Portland )
Kevin B. Laws, NOAA/NWSFO, Calera, AL

Warning forecasters have shown some success in detecting tornadoes with valuable lead time. However, this has come with a substantial price of a very high false alarm ratio. This topic has been hotly debated for years after the significant tornado events of April and May 2011, specifically addressing the impacts of high false alarm rates on the warning and dissemination process. The National Weather Service office in Birmingham, Alabama has been at the center of this controversy since April 27, 2011, and the authors intend to advance the discussion by outlining the procedures that have been implemented locally to change and evolve the warning process. The substantial improvement of the false alarm rates is not only tied to making better warning decisions, but more importantly, a necessary change in the local office philosophy and overall NWS culture.
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