6.3 Tornadoes in a Flash Flood Emergency, a Messaging Challenge (Invited Presentation)

Tuesday, 9 January 2018: 2:00 PM
Ballroom D (ACC) (Austin, Texas)
Jeffry S. Evans, NOAA/NWS/Weather Forecast Office, Dickinson, TX; and L. Wood and T. Johnstone

In addition to record setting rainfall and flooding, Hurricane Harvey also produced around 30 tornadoes near Houston. The area was under a tornado watch for 4 straight days, and the NWS office in Houston/Galveston issued over 150 tornado warnings during this span. This presented several challenges to warnings and messaging, as many times these threats overlapped. In fact, we had a few incidents where people were on their roofs to escape flooding while under a tornado warning.

This presentation will discuss the environment which favored a persistent tornado threat, and also how to message multiple threats when the expected actions for public safety conflict with each other (i.e. seek higher ground for Flash Flood and seek lowest floor or below ground for tornadoes). We will also discuss the concept of hazard specific warnings in an environment which presents multiple weather hazards.

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