While the media keeps whining about inaccurate weather forecasts – regardless of whether the forecast was correct or not — the science of meteorology keeps making tremendous strides forward.
Saturday night, after the record earthquake in Oklahoma, I wrote this posting at 1:12am Sunday morning:
It explicitly forecasts a chance of strong tornadoes in the hatched area of southwest Oklahoma more than 36 hours before the first tornado occurred.
Between that first posting about the tornado threat and the development of thunderstorms in Oklahoma, I did three others highlighting the potential for strong tornadoes this afternoon.
Then, at 10:40am, I did this post which depicted the National Weather Service’s experimental radar forecast system for late this afternoon and evening. I highlighted the area where the big tornado-producing thunderstorms would be most likely with the red square.
While the timing was off (it is an experimental product), it did a fine job of highlighting the area at greatest risk. The first tornado warning in southwest Oklahoma was issued at 2:14pm, 3.5 hours after the posting. Fifty-seven minutes before the first tornado warning, the tornado watch was posted for the area where the tornadoes occurred.
This is just one of the strong tornadoes that occurred in southwest Oklahoma:
As far as we know at this point, there have been no fatalities or serious injuries from these storms.
So, more than 36 hours in advance, weather science was able to explicitly forecast that strong tornadoes would occur in southwest Oklahoma. Think about that for a moment.
Weather science has made amazing progress the last ten years. My congratulations to the National Weather Service, my colleagues at AccuWeather, and to all meteorologists.
Addition: More video of three strong tornadoes in southwest Oklahoma yesterday: