How Good Are Tornado Warnings Becoming?

Before Doppler radar, it was virtually impossible to track and warn of the small tornadoes created by tropical storms and hurricanes.

How far we have come!


Today, as an experiment, I did some tweeting on the rotating thunderstorm that moved across the northwest suburbs of Atlanta. The radars (NWS WSR-88D and FAA’s TDWR) both did a great job locating the storm and I posted this image at 2pm CDT.

Doppler wind data showing rotating winds over
the northeast part of the Atlanta Metro region.

Note that the arrow is pointed right at Woodstock.

So, I tweeted the warning based on this and other data (not shown).

As best we can tell at this point, the tornado touched down several times and damaged homes, trees, and power lines.

Chuck Blevins, Atlanta-Journal Constitution

More information from the Atlanta Journal-Constitution here.

According to the NWS, the tornado damaged the homes at 2:15pm CDT (3:15pm EDT). That means, I (or another meteorologist looking at the situation) was able to specifically name Woodstock and the immediately surrounding area 15-minutes of advance warning.

A dozen years ago there would have been zero warning. Weather science has come a very long way. 

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