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National Weather Service Severe Weather Forecasting For May 20th Included Moore, Oklahoma. Have We, the Public, Gotten Complacent?

Brett Deering, Getty Images

A question that is asked as meteorological technology improves: “Can tornadoes be accurately forecast?” We might be closer to an answer.

As pointed out by KAMC 28/ KFYO Meteorologist Ron Roberts, and of The Atlantic; the midday Severe Weather Briefing by the National Weather Service in Norman, OK, yesterday (May 20, 2013) pinpointed the areas that became devastated by a deadly tornado.

In the YouTube video you can watch below, the seven minute briefing discussed the severe weather outlook. Part of Rick Smith’s briefing states at the 2:55 mark, “The red shaded area is really the danger zone today and we’re looking for thunderstorms to develop explosively between one and two o’clock. This would include areas from South Oklahoma City through Norman, Moore…” and other cities around Oklahoma City are named.

At the 3:17 mark another pertinent part of the briefing sticks out, “Supercell storms are expected to develop in this area very quickly between one and two o’clock this afternoon. They will become severe, fast, just like yesterday. We had storms that went from virtually nothing to producing large hail and tornadoes in less than an hour in some cases. So, it’s going to go fast today.”

Ron Roberts brought up an interesting point on his Facebook after watching this video, “Was there advance severe weather forecast for the Moore tornado?
If so, should we start a severe weather school-off day?? I’m thinking…Yes!”

The Daily Oklahoman noted that the Norman office of the National Weather Service used different terminology in describing the storm to the public, once its strength became apparent.

“…the rare term “tornado emergency” was used to warn the public of a dangerous, long-track tornado.”

As it becomes early Tuesday morning, the tragedy in Moore has gotten even worse. KFOR-TV in Oklahoma City reports the death toll is now up to 91, with over 230 people injured. Early estimates of the storm’s strength is EF4 on the Enhanced Fujita Scale.

The Red Cross, Salvation Army, and many other agencies, are leading relief efforts for those affected. Also, the State of Texas is helping Oklahoma too.

When I watched the coverage yesterday, and now think about the aftermath, I wonder, have we gotten complacent again as it comes to severe weather? For the record, I think we have in the South Plains because of the drought over the past few years.

Do you agree with Ron’s idea of keeping children home if exceptionally severe weather is forecast for a specific day?

Let us know in the comments below or on the air during our talk shows on KFYO.

Rob Snyder is the News & Operations Manager for News/Talk 790, KFYO

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