does anyone know what Dr. Greg Forbes had the torcon listed at for 11/17/2013

Brian R

EF0
Apr 16, 2012
40
1
5
good evening,

a friend of mine and myself have been discussing the 11/17/2013 ef-4 tornado that struck washington illinois and he asked me what Dr. Greg Forbes from the weather channel had listed his torcon rating at for that day, which i really dont know. Unfortunately i had some business to take care of that day or i would have been chasing that system and probably would have been at ground zero so to speak since i predicted it would happen between 10 am and 1 pm about 125 miles southwest of chicago. who would ever have expected that kind of storm in the middle of november.... probably a once in a lifetime chance of that happening. still it is a really terrible thing to happen at any time of the year for the people affected by it, but even more so so close to the holidays.
 

Brian R

EF0
Apr 16, 2012
40
1
5
wow, i think that is the highest i ever heard his torcon. i have heard 7-8 out of 10 but 9 out of 10 that is almost given that a tornado is going to happen
 
Dec 10, 2003
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It was quite high for the 27-28 Apr 2011 outbreak in the South and on other occasions but I don't give TorCon credence thus don't pay attention. It's probably too flippant and ad hoc (ephemerally changing) to maintain a usable archive, to say nothing of availability of the data, but it'd indeed be interesting if such a thing is maintained. Perhaps Dr. Forbes is doing so for verification studies, as his published research is quite good.

Big outbreaks occur in November (peak of the much smaller but definite secondary season), it just happened that Washington got hit by a violent tornado at peak size and intensity whereas other big tornadoes traverse more open country (which the Washington tornado later did so as a large sometimes wedge tornado). For the immediate area, the recurrence interval probably goes back to 1995 and 2003, both with multiple events in May. The Roanoke IL tornado in July 2004 was probably more of an outlier for the time of year with maybe the Canton IL tornado of July 1975 one of few other summer events (Plainfield IL in August 1990 wasn't far from the Chicago area track of the Washington supercell).
 
Nov 18, 2006
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Chicago, IL
He started the day with a 6 but bumped it up to a 9 once it became clear the area was actually going to destabilize the way the NAM had shown. Clear skies at 7am with low-mid 60s dews under that kind of shear across IL. We knew we were in trouble...
 

Brian R

EF0
Apr 16, 2012
40
1
5
really wish i was in town to chase that system, but one way to look at it is there will be more storms to chase.
 

rdale

EF5
Mar 1, 2004
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Lansing, MI
skywatch.org
9 out of 10 that is almost given that a tornado is going to happen
Just so we're all on the same page - TORCON is fake. It is not a real index, it's simply a marketing tool that Dr Forbes has to use. There is no science behind it, so all a 9 or 10 means is that he is really confident that a tornado will occur. As others have noted, he didn't make that call until just before the tornadoes started (which at that point was obvious to my 4 year old for what it's worth :) )
 

Brian R

EF0
Apr 16, 2012
40
1
5
I have never put much faith in the torcon rating, however he does have reliable severe weather forecasts usually. one of the few tv weather people i actually believe.
 
Just so we're all on the same page - TORCON is fake. It is not a real index, it's simply a marketing tool that Dr Forbes has to use. There is no science behind it, so all a 9 or 10 means is that he is really confident that a tornado will occur. As others have noted, he didn't make that call until just before the tornadoes started (which at that point was obvious to my 4 year old for what it's worth :) )
While I don't use (and don't care about) the torcon, it is qualified as a tornado happening within 50 miles of a point (basically a re-purposed SPC outlook). His forecasts could be objectively verified if someone felt the desire to do so.
 

kctcjo

EF0
Nov 19, 2012
32
2
6
Jonesboro Arkansas
As Mark pointed out, it IS a re-purpposed SPC outlook. On November 17 the SPC issued a 30% for tornadoes. Keep in mind that is for a 25 mile radius. The difference in area is 4 times greater for a 50 mile radius! Not hard to put up an 8 or 9 with those kind of odds. The TORCON generates more interest in severe wx, which is not all bad, by the way. However, if a 5% SPC day can produce a TORCON of 4-5 then where does it end? I have read a lot of nasty comments on TWCs page from folks that dont know the first thing about severe wx, "Forbes wrong again!" Well, with such a large area encompassed in Dr Forbes' forcast he may very well have been correct. Very much objectively verifiable, but only so much as the SPC forcasts are. He uses similar parameters to that of the STP, but as RDALE points out, Dr Forbes uses them as guidelines (I guess?). The point I am getting to is that the hysteria worked up on these outbreak days may lead to public "fatigue". When some hear TORCON 9 they really believe that they have a 90% chance of getting hit by a tornado! After a few times they just start tuning out.
 
Feb 14, 2005
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Charleston, South Carolina
The 1-10 scale is used just because it's a basic scale that "the masses" will more readily identify with, as it's popularly used in so many other subjects. Of course, to do that, you have to adjust other criteria to fit the scale. In this case, it was simply expanding the areal radius from 25 miles (SPC) to 50 miles. Notice also that the area of the Torcon isn't really delineated by actual boundaries, it's just described by general area (eg. "central Oklahoma.") Maybe that's to avoid any appearance of stepping on the SPC's toes, or maybe it's just to fudge the forecast a little. I agree that Dr. Forbes is a very knowledgeable and skilled forecaster, but I also can't help but believe the TWC marketing folks had a hand in this concept.
 
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Dec 13, 2003
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La Plata, Maryland
It drove me absolutely nuts! when they would say " seven out of ten "... like they were talking to children. It's a "70%" chance for crying out loud! Be professional and stop talking down to people.
 

calvinkaskey

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Feb 17, 2014
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I wouldn't always go with the torcon values listed. I think there are others out there that could tell you better. I'm curious what people think about Carl Parker? He threw up a super-cell potential for the 29th of May 2013, said there was a lot of shear and bam I found myself in prolific funnel cloud machine in New York state! I hardly ever see super-cell potential maps on the Weather Channel and definitely not in New York.
 
Apr 22, 2009
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preferrably near a storm
I really wonder how many of those who slam Dr. Forbes's tor-con rating system would actually accuse him of the same things to his face. I bet there's an element of jealousy and ego actually driving that thinking. I agree there's a correlation between the SPC outlook and the tor-con, but I doubt he uses the SPC outlook to establish his outlook. I believe I've heard him say the tor-con is to help alert the average Joe who doesn't know much about weather to be on the alert (and isn't that the purpose of general weather forecasting anyways?).
 

rdale

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Mar 1, 2004
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Jeff he has been challenged by the best in the business (Spann) and refused to show any of the specific components or any verification studies. Since it isn't science based, it shouldn't be used as science.

Calvin - what are you talking about? What's the difference between a 6 and a 3? And if you don't know what it was in the first place, maybe it was a 6?
 
It is just as science based as SPC's tornado probabilies in their outlooks. Neither is based on some calculated index, rather on their best forecast of the tornado potential for the day, based on all the factors one would use to forecast tornadoes. Much like the way we chasers target, actually, although I would put either Forbes' or SPC's expertise way above mine or probably a lot of the rest of us. I heard Dr. Forbes talk about it at Chasercon, and as others have suggested, the larger radius (50 miles vs. SPC's 25 miles) was to make the numbers closer to the 1 to 10 scales that people are familiar with.