Catching Up

Some unexpected personal business prevented me from posting with regard to the NYC storm. As expected, there were two tornadoes in addition to one large downburst (“macroburst”).

It is interesting that NBC’s Today show reported, “there was little warning.” However, this report says that is not true.  The first NYC tornado warning was issued at 5:20pm.


BULLETIN - EAS ACTIVATION REQUESTED  TORNADO WARNING  

NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE NEW YORK NY  520 PM EDT THU SEP 16 2010  
 
THE NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE IN UPTON NY HAS ISSUED A  
 
* TORNADO WARNING FOR...  
RICHMOND (STATEN ISLAND) COUNTY IN SOUTHEAST NEW YORK...  
 
* UNTIL 545 PM EDT...  
 

But the first tornado didn’t touch down until 5:33pm — that is 13 minutes’ of warning which is the national average. For a small, line-type tornado (see the tornado types posting below), that is a good performance by the NWS. Warnings for additional boroughs came out during the next few minutes.  The path length was a combined 14 miles.

Now, the point I would like to make: I have been in NYC on several occasions when severe thunderstorms have caused significant damage. But the quality of severe weather coverage is usually inferior to that in a small- to medium-sized market in the Great Plains. A quality of coverage in, say, Wichita, Oklahoma City, or Kansas City smokes anything one sees in NYC.

My point is that the warning was there. Thirteen minutes is a lot of time for the public to take shelter. WeatherData provided even more warning for its business clients! Given the type of storm, the meteorological profession performed well.

Nonsensical stories like these complaining that the warning was out only a few minutes due Reuters and its readers a disservice. The they were fast-moving storms and the NWS, correctly, issued the warnings for only a minutes duration. Does Reuters want people cowering in shelter after the sky has cleared?

Given the extensive damage, the very low death toll is likely due, at least in part, to the timely and accurate warnings.

If any of our readers in the NYC area would like to comment, I’d like to hear from you.

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