advertisement

WHAT OTHERS SAY: New tornado warning system shows promise for safety

Tuesday, April 17, 2012 | 4:55 p.m. CDT

Anyone tuned into a television or weather service last week would have been hard pressed to miss the news that dangerous storms were brewing in the Midwest.

The Storm Prediction Center, part of the National Weather Service, issued warnings early and often. And when the storms actually materialized, a new alert system told residents of Kansas and Missouri to expect major house and building damage and complete destruction of vehicles and mobile homes. Clearly, these storms were meant to be taken seriously.

People appeared to do exactly that. Although five persons were killed and more than two dozen injured in Oklahoma, Kansas was fortunate to suffer no fatalities despite having 97 tornadoes reported.

It's premature to credit the experimental "Impact Based Warning" system being used this season in Kansas and Missouri for the absence of fatalities, and no one is officially doing so. But anecdotal reports suggest that residents listened to the warnings and took precautions.

The specificity of the reports makes a lot of sense. Announcing that an arriving storm is likely to upend cars and trailer homes commands attention in a way that announcing another "tornado warning" does not.

Over time, it's important to ensure that the warnings are as accurate as possible and that the new type of message isn't overused. In its opening run, though, the Impact Based Warning showed welcome potential.

Copyright Kansas City Star. Reprinted with permission.


Like what you see here? Become a member.


Show Me the Errors (What's this?)

Report corrections or additions here. Leave comments below here.

You must be logged in to participate in the Show Me the Errors contest.


Comments

Leave a comment

Speak up and join the conversation! Make sure to follow the guidelines outlined below and register with our site. You must be logged in to comment. (Our full comment policy is here.)

  • Don't use obscene, profane or vulgar language.
  • Don't use language that makes personal attacks on fellow commenters or discriminates based on race, religion, gender or ethnicity.
  • Use your real first and last name when registering on the website. It will be published with every comment. (Read why we ask for that here.)
  • Don’t solicit or promote businesses.

We are not able to monitor every comment that comes through. If you see something objectionable, please click the "Report comment" link.

You must be logged in to comment.

Forget your password?

Don't have an account? Register here.

advertisements