Monday, April 14, 2008

About That Forecast

Last week, a number of meteorologists were warning of an epic severe weather event, one that would--perhaps--rival the tornado "Super Outbreak" of 1974. And to use a bad pun, a lot of folks (including this blog) got sucked up in the hype.

Yes, there was a significant outbreak of severe weather across the South and Midwest last week. But it failed to equal the events of 34 years ago (Thank God), not to mention more recent outbreaks of tornadoes and severe thunderstorms

How did the forecasters get it wrong? Accu-Weather meteorologist Jesse Farrell offers a few thoughts:

My personal opinion in regards to the over-hyping of this outbreak (which I participated in) is that the meteorologists (everywhere) were paying too much attention to matching the overall weather pattern to 1974, and not spending enough time looking at the many wonderful Severe Weather Indices from the Forecast Models. As I noted in my blog on Tuesday and Thursday, these never looked very impressive, or when they did, they were in different geographical locations. Why didn't I promote that fact more? Honestly, since I'm so out-of-the-loop these days in regards to what our forecasters are thinking, I assumed there was something obvious I was missing, and I didn't want to be the guy who said "this outbreak is going to be lame" and we get hundreds of tornado reports.

For the record, the National Weather Service's Storm Prediction Center (SPC) reported a total of 57 tornadoes over a four-day period last week (9-12 April). By comparison, there were 149 tornadoes during the Super Outbreak of 1974, which occurred over a 24-hour period.

1 comment:

JoeC said...

Even the near misses of a tornado are impressive. From the eerie wailing of the severe weather siren, to the strange pause before the blast, to the near miss event, it is weather to behold. I wish I had a video of the near miss (couple of miles) of the flashes on the horizon that went from blue to green to red as the power lines collided and transformers popped...or of the wind tunnel effect of the 60+ MPH winds blowing straight at my wife's blazer parked in front of the house. The rain spray arching up over the hood and windshield were straight out of a GM commercial.

SO I am glad to have been spared. A friend had his car hail blasted to the tune of a couple grand in repairs. Another friend's McMansion was hit with hard enough winds to twist/shift the roof structure enough to crack some interior sheetrock. And all I got were the rest of the oak tree's pistols stripped and 2 tenths of an inch of rain. (I have a two Texas oak trees in my front yard. One loses /regains it leaves in the fall, the other in the spring. It 'flowers' these knobby spiral pistols that clog the gutter and cover the yard. This was going to be a banner acorn year. Was.)

I'm glad it WASN'T another banner tornado year like 1974. A near miss was impressive enough.