Assessing the Moore, Oklahoma (2013) Tornado Using the National Weather Service Damage Assessment Toolkit
The National Weather Service is tasked with conducting post storm damage assessments following significant severe weather events. After the 20 May 2013 tornado in Moore, Oklahoma, the newly deployed NWS Damage Assessment Toolkit was used extensively during the damage assessment. The Toolkit is a GIS-based framework for collecting, storing, and retrieving damage survey data. The Toolkit uses the EF-scale for the classification of damage and the subsequent rating of tornadic events. Data from individual locations are collected using software run on laptops or other mobile devices. These data are transmitted to a central geospatial database via the Internet, where they are quality controlled and made available through a Web-based graphical interface. Use of the Toolkit yields advantages over the previous “pad and paper” survey techniques, by decreasing the time needed to collect and quality control data, while increasing the availability of the resulting datasets to end users.
Following the Moore event, the NWS Forecast Office in Norman, Oklahoma, deployed multiple survey teams to assess the path and intensity of the tornado. The survey teams used the Toolkit to evaluate damage at over 700 individual points, including over 130 photographs. Once quality controlled, the data were made available for use by emergency management agencies, the media, and the public. This presentation will provide an overview of how the Toolkit was used to collect data, what data were collected, and how these data were disseminated and used, both internally and externally.