Issues with transmitting tornado warnings in various areas of the country

calvinkaskey

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Feb 17, 2014
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I have had issues with not getting a tornado warning from my car radio or older phone and in New York there are no tornado sirens. In North Carolina I had bought a weather radio in loo of the previous incident and it took 7 minutes after the warning was supposedly issued. I did have a cell phone but my service was spotty in the area and it took 5 minutes (although I had called to report the tornado and it went through after 2 minutes. There should be tornado sirens in the area since N.C. is very tornado prone at times.
 

rdale

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Mar 1, 2004
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There was not a 7 minute delay in NOAA Weather Radio unless major technical issues hit that day. Normally it's on the order of 5-15 seconds.

Tornado sirens are not cheap. In emergency management we rank all hazards and their risks - and from that can base where to allocate resources (and money.) Tornadoes aren't as high in NC as they are in OK.
 
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Seems historically that SC is somewhat a min.
http://www.spc.noaa.gov/climo/online/sp3/map.php?lat=36.043&lon=98.003&zoom=140&mode=0&bdate=19500531/1200&edate=20100601/1200&torflag=1&windflag=-1&hailflag=-1&t01=3&t02=5&t03=0&t04=9999&t05=0&t06=9999&t07=0&t08=9999&t09=0&t10=9999&h01=0&h02=9999&w01=0&w02=9999&showt=0&legend=1&showh=0&showw=0
http://www.spc.noaa.gov/climo/online/sp3/map.php?lat=34.380&lon=80.642&zoom=140&mode=0&bdate=19500531/1200&edate=20100601/1200&torflag=1&windflag=-1&hailflag=-1&t01=3&t02=5&t03=0&t04=9999&t05=0&t06=9999&t07=0&t08=9999&t09=0&t10=9999&h01=0&h02=9999&w01=0&w02=9999&showt=0&legend=1&showh=0&showw=0

One of those is OK/KS and one is SC. I'm not sure which is which. :p
It's from 1950-2010 of all F3+ from this site. http://www.spc.noaa.gov/climo/online/sp3/plot.php
I think at F4, SC has like 8 in 60 yrs. OK has like 42.

But ya. Seems to me a siren would cost about as much as a stoplight set of 4? :)
How much are them thar cameras on top of the traffic lights that don't EVEN
analyze traffic to time the lights? Actually... I do think my neighbor's cat may
be smarter than our traffic lights, but I digress.
 

rdale

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Sirens cost about $20K to install, and then $1-2K every few years for maintenance. So for good coverage in a large city like Columbia you'd be looking at $2-4 million up front and a a quarter million per year in upkeep.
 
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calvinkaskey

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I'm sure there is a way to cut costs of a siren and its maintenance. North of North Carolina (except maybe Massachusetts) I don't think tornado sirens are needed but North Carolina south and west and Ohio west and south are the areas that get violent tornadoes. Sorry for putting out that video here is one that really shows the possible significant tornado in it's mature stage with a tornado warning just issued after slowing going through a populated area and reports to NWS and emergency management agencies. It's a good thing the area it hit was a very unpopulated area (estimated it hit along a stream).

P.S. North Carolina and West Texas are some of the areas that are predicted to have increases in severe weather day with global warming according to one site. I'm not sure what you guys have heard.
 

rdale

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No, there really isn't a way to cut the cost ;) Otherwise we'd do it already.

There is no way to predict specific states that may get more tornadoes due to climate change.
 

calvinkaskey

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In light of people recently dying in Texas during a tornado what warnings are transmitted to vehicles? One has to pull over and stop to check out even if their cell phone buzzes and then it says to check NWS radio or other broadcast and one might even forget or not know what their cell phone is doing. Cell service might not be good or their phone might be dead. Regular radio does not make any sounds to alert in areas I have been in. I have heard warnings for large hail but none for tornadoes even when a warning was issued for the area at that time.
 

rdale

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In light of people recently dying in Texas during a tornado what warnings are transmitted to vehicles?
Several of the drivers knew of the threat and decided to continue driving. But the WEA will not only buzz you cellphone but tell you TORNADO WARNING. That by itself should be a clue.

one might even forget or not know what their cell phone is doing.
You've apparently never heard a WEA alert ;)

Cell service might not be good or their phone might be dead.
Whenever inclement weather is in the forecast, I'd suggest keeping your phone charged.

Regular radio does not make any sounds to alert in areas I have been in.
It absolutely DOES. It's called EAS.

I have heard warnings for large hail but none for tornadoes even when a warning was issued for the area at that time.
You weren't listening at the time the warning was issued then...
 
Sep 7, 2013
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Strasburg, CO
Any radio station I listen to in CO issues EAS break in on a regular basis, from severe thunderstorms up thru tornados. Its a regular insurance around here.

I also get fairly accurate, location wise, severe alerts to my phone.

That being said, I also keep a portable weather radio with me on standby mode during severe season.

If you live in an area with the potential for severe weather, it's not the NWS' responsibility to track you down and tell you face to face something bad is about to happen. Individuals need to be vigilant.
 
Jan 27, 2011
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Russell, KS
Any radio station I listen to in CO issues EAS break in on a regular basis, from severe thunderstorms up thru tornados. Its a regular insurance around here.

I also get fairly accurate, location wise, severe alerts to my phone.

That being said, I also keep a portable weather radio with me on standby mode during severe season.

If you live in an area with the potential for severe weather, it's not the NWS' responsibility to track you down and tell you face to face something bad is about to happen. Individuals need to be vigilant.
Same here.. All of our radio stations are equipped with ENDECs and during SVR/TOR will cut in/rebroadcast the alert tone and warning within seconds of it finishing on NWR.

And yes, pretty much any phone manufactured within the last two years is equipped with CMAS, and (provided they have not been disabled by the user) will alert as long as there is voice service. CMAS is transmitted similarly to text messages, not over data, so all it needs is a usable voice signal.
 
Jan 27, 2011
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Russell, KS
Texts piggyback onto the pings that the phone sends/receives off the tower, which are technically part of the voice signal. I shouldn't have said "usable voice signal" because a text will still come through even if the signal can't support a reliable voice call.. I know CMAS messages are routed through a backchannel in the land network to bypass any congestion in the normal SMS/voice network but I don't think CMAS would come through if the phone says "No Service", I'm pretty sure they still ride on the ping packets to actually get them from the tower to the phone.
 
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calvinkaskey

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That's Kansas and Colorado. My cell phone is older than 2 years old Matt. Rdale I had NWS radio playing while chasing.
 
Jan 27, 2011
421
26
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Russell, KS
That's Kansas and Colorado. My cell phone is older than 2 years old Matt. Rdale I had NWS radio playing while chasing.
How much older? What model is it? CMAS was put into use in 2012, and phone manufacturers were required to support it on all new models by I think 2013. Carrier support is technically optional but AFAIK they all do. I had a Galaxy S2 which was one of the first models to have the support back in 2012.
 
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calvinkaskey

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That's what I have but the warning took like 4 minutes and the warning from NWS radio took 6 minutes from when the warning was issued. I'm guessing it already had ef-2 winds by then as it tightened to a pin funnel with a bulb up top and did serious tree damage. This combined with radar scans that take several minutes and it's a very long time really. The tornado was on the ground before the warning was issued.
 
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John Wetter

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Is this discussion still all based on a 2014 article, of which most of the technology involved has been updated or changed? The delays in radar and the system are known. The average lead time is 12 minutes, and the average warning delivery via AHR, EAS, and WEA is within a minute. We need to talk about the averages first, and then try to work in the edge cases. WEA has seemingly been around forever now... There are many stories of it saving lives. Now, if a person doesn't act on that information? I don't know what the next step is other than continue to talk about personal responsibility.
 

calvinkaskey

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Feb 17, 2014
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Is this discussion still all based on a 2014 article, of which most of the technology involved has been updated or changed? The delays in radar and the system are known. The average lead time is 12 minutes, and the average warning delivery via AHR, EAS, and WEA is within a minute. We need to talk about the averages first, and then try to work in the edge cases. WEA has seemingly been around forever now... There are many stories of it saving lives. Now, if a person doesn't act on that information? I don't know what the next step is other than continue to talk about personal responsibility.
Lack of accurate radio broadcast May 29, 2013 Oneonta, New York and lack of radar coverage for the same storm (Binghamton), very, very late warning transmitted NOAA weather radio March 29 2014 Raleigh North Carolina and big delay in text message warning for same storm.