Severe Local Storm Warnings: The Present State of the Science, the Limitations, and a Future Vision

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Wednesday, 5 February 2014: 2:00 PM
Room C109 (The Georgia World Congress Center )
David L. Andra Jr., NOAA/NWS/Weather Forecast Office, Norman, OK

Severe thunderstorm and tornado warnings have undoubtedly saved lives since their introduction in the mid-twentieth century. Advances in science, technology, dissemination, and public awareness have also lead to improvements along the way. However, as the tornado events of 2011 and more recently in Oklahoma 2013 attest, substantial loss of life and injury still occur. While some of this toll is attributable to causes that range from circumstances to building standards, other aspects of the issue are more closely related to limitations in the current warning system. To better understand the issues, three primary aspects of the science and technology regarding severe local storm warning operations will be examined. Those aspects are: 1) the current state of the science, technology, and operational capabilities, 2) the current limits of the science, technology, and operational capabilities, and 3) assessment of the current challenges and where the biggest opportunities for improvement in severe local storm warning operations from both a science and technology perspective may lie over the next 5 to 10 years. A new concept for the provision of hazard information, now under development at the National Severe Storms Laboratory, will be included.