WFO Norman Operations for the Moore and El Reno, OK Tornado Events (Invited Presentation)

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Tuesday, 4 February 2014: 1:45 PM
Georgia Ballroom 1 (The Georgia World Congress Center )
David L. Andra Jr., NOAA/NWS/Weather Forecast Office, Norman, OK

The deadly tornadoes and flash flooding of May 2013 left an indelible mark on many communities in central Oklahoma. Forty-six people lost their lives from May 19 to May 31 despite excellent forecasts and warnings. Thousands more lost their homes, were injured, or saw their businesses destroyed. While any loss requires the weather enterprise to work even harder, those in the storms' path benefitted from continued improvements in the warning and forecast program and from the advancements made to message delivery.

The Norman NWS Weather Forecast Office employed an operations model that sought to 1) incorporate advancements in numerical weather prediction, 2) utilize the latest available technology, 3) enact a diverse but coordinated messaging strategy, and 4) support meteorologist situational awareness. The present-day operations model also provides a substantial amount of post-disaster forecast support targeted toward rescue and recovery efforts. Advancements in these key elements are significant when compared to a similar impacts associated with the deadly tornadoes of May 3, 1999 and lay the groundwork for more comprehensive decision support services by the NWS.