S79 How Close Is The National Weather Service To 1-Hour Tornado Warnings?

Sunday, 7 January 2018
Exhibit Hall 5 (ACC) (Austin, Texas)
Kayleen Torres, NOAA, Silver Spring,, MD

Tornadoes are one of the most hazardous weather phenomena that annually impact large areas of the United States. The National Weather Service (NWS) mission is to provide weather observations, forecasts and warnings for public safety and enhancement of the national economy. However, some statistics show that the NWS is providing less advance notice for tornadoes and more often failing to detect them. An analysis of 10 years of statistical data for tornado warnings show that recently there has been a decrease in lead time and probability of detection. This means that the NWS has not improved its tornado forecasting skill in this time period; however, the NWS has improved its false alarm rate by decreasing the frequency of tornado warnings that did not occur. The future of tornado forecasting exists within the Warn on Forecast (WoF) program at the National Severe Storm Laboratory (NSSL), where they’re tasked with increasing tornado, severe thunderstorm, and flash flood warning lead time. Using data from WoF, we conducted an analysis of the May 16th, 2017 case that involved multiple tornadoes and useful tools from WoF assisted NWS forecasters with providing an early warning to the public. In closing, the current meteorological tools available to NWS forecasters do not allow for an accurate 1-hour tornado warning; however, tools at NSSL are being developed to help the NWS achieve this goal.
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