NWS office calls chaser tornado reports false, social media feud ensues

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I forgot this site existed...nice look. 1. My SN icon was on. When I hit the report button, it re-directs me to the website, where, unfortunately, my password was not saved on my new phone and I couldn't remember it. This has happened twice and the only time I remember is when I need to report. I usually do report via SN. 2. I tweeted the tornado was developing 15 minutes before it actually did "North of McLean." Go to GPS and look for any roads that run east/west that are just north of McLean. At the time, there was just one storm that was north of McLean, yet they asked me which way I was looking lol. I do not monitor Twitter after my report...as much as I love the hatred and monday morning QB'ing, no one was there and few watched it in real time. (Something is wrong with this site, I keep having to type over and over and lose writings so I'm going to post and edit with more) I don't care what your radars see or don't see, my eyes saw a long-tracked tornado, with intermittent ground circulations at worst. Even if we have another Bobby Cookie on our hands, you still must warn the public. Or if the guy would've clicked on my twitter name and noticed I was a storm chaser, he would've realized. The whole spoof thing is just an excuse and their apology was to the public, not to me. Trust me, I'd love to not report and shoot more still photos (shot one!) but I felt the duty to warn people, in the path, just in case.
What if someone would've died because they didn't warn it? The environment was good enough for a tornado or two, especially with that stalled boundary and boundary orientation. You can't rule it out.

For the person who said it wasn't a supercell, it was one of the most textbook supercells I have ever seen. RFB, inflow bands, horseshoe cut with rising scud northeast. There was zero precip. Call me unprofessional and try and throw the blame on me for reporting a tornado, or say I should've called instead (which, I've had them not answer or act standoffish or leery of my report) or say my report wasn't accurate enough, even though it was the only storm just north of McLean...whatever makes you feel better about THEIR mistake. I don't care. Here's the full video...and I think at the end I accidentally rippled deleted it. The tornado ended just short of a mile south of 273 on the curve for anyone that care and the time was 5:53 p.m. when it started. We viewed from between V and W roads on the highway that runs north out of McLean.

Great seeing you again, rdale! Merry Christmas

 
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rdale

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Mar 1, 2004
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Even if we have another Bobby Cookie on our hands, you still must warn the public.
Wrong wrong wrong wrong wrong... [The site did not add those extras - I did ;) ] False alarms kill people. You don't automatically issue a warning every time a tornado is reported via Twitter. Or called in. Or SN'd. Even if a freacking dominating chaser is the reporting agent. A spotter REPORT is not a sole source - spotter video probably could be. But a report is just part of the process. I highly recommend people interested in the process of issuing warnings ask their local EMs to bring in the free "Tornado Awareness" course from NDPTC. Message me for more info (it's the only FEMA class I've offered that students asked me to bring back.)

Great seeing you again, rdale! Merry Christmas
Back at you! I don't even remember why you hold a grudge for something you said or did 10 years ago that offended me, and yet I still defended you in this case. And it wasn't even due just to Christmas spirit!
 

Jeff Duda

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For the person who said it wasn't a supercell, it was one of the most textbook supercells I have ever seen. RFB, inflow bands, horseshoe cut with rising scud northeast. There was zero precip.
I'm not going to get into an argument here, but in my best judgement, that storm was not a supercell. A supercell is a thunderstorm with a deep, persistent, rotating updraft, i.e., a mesocyclone. This means that the storm spends enough time ingesting air parcels to result in strong vertical vorticity over an area generally of a few kilometers in radius over a deep depth of the storm and for more than long enough for parcels to traverse the storm, which tends to be on the order of 15-30 minutes. In case you'd like to see a second opinion on that, you can check the AMS Glossary definition here. None of the features you mentioned qualify a storm as being a supercell, and just because a thunderstorm produces a tornado does not automatically make it a supercell.
 
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Jan 14, 2011
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The AMS definition brings up another point of discussion that is likely relevant with this topic. That's that many meteorologists, even with PhD-level smarts, are lacking in intimate knowledge about supercell structure and tornadoes, mainly when compared to chasers that observe these features with regularity. What I mean is that the taxonomy of tornadic storms is outside of general or even advanced meteorology.

Maybe I'm just misinformed, but it seems like the discovery of the significance/role of the RFD post-dates the AMS definition of a supercell and renders it obsolete. Are there supercells without RFDs? Is the term 'low-topped supercell' an oxymoron? We have nonsupercell tornadoes and supercell tornadoes, is a tornado from an RFD-focused low-level circulation something different?

Food for thought, and maybe I just have more to learn - which I look forward to if that's the case.
 
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Well, obviously the office made a mistake and pretty sure some changes will be made as a result of this incident.

I agree with rdale that we cannot just automatically warn based off a report, even from a 'reliable' source. Not only are false alarms dangerous in the long run (resulting in warning apathy) but suppose a false warning is acted on by someone who evacuates, then gets into a car accident and dies? Who's at fault then? With the exponential increase in social media reports, there has to be some way of discriminating the good reports from the bad--it's not a trivial problem. There seems to be this assumption that if the NWS disregards a report, this means the office is calling the reporter a "liar". There is a third possibility, which is that the spotter is mistaken, and that's why additional precise information is so important. Even the most 'popular' and experienced chasers have occasionally been mistaken in their assessment of a storm, due to the excitement of the moment or whatever...

...it was one of the most textbook supercells I have ever seen....
See?
 
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You do not respond in the way McGowan did. You do not call an organization "***holes" and throw a tantrum in the public eye. If you have a problem with someone, handle it in private. Acting professional in the public eye is absolutely necessary, especially when you have such a large following like McGowan.

Second, you do not threaten to "boycott" storm reporting. Whatever happened to this "saving lives" attitude? Chasers are there to report ground truth and, even though there was a disagreement yesterday on the report, that is still your purpose.

Yes, the NWS office should not have called McGowan a liar. But, he has to know how to handle himself.

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I love people that armchair QB others and tell them what they should or should not be doing or how they should and shouldnt react/behave. [emoji19]

He was trying to save lives by making a report only to be called a liar by some halfwit, lame brame uppity meteorologist with an ego that said met obviously felt insulted since some chaser was on a tornado and this clown couldnt even use all of his wonderful little technology (that he is so dependent on) to find it on his radar. Dick's response was warranted and justified. Dick is perfectly capable of making adult decisions.

this is why when I chase I dont bother with reports. too much drama, I leave it to someone else to deal with. (I'm sure you'll armchair QB me too for that though).
 

rdale

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some halfwit, lame brame uppity meteorologist with an ego that said met obviously felt insulted since some chaser was on a tornado and this clown couldnt even use all of his wonderful little technology (that he is so dependent on) to find it on his radar.
Wow - did you really revive this thread on Christmas to throw insults at a professional meteorologist? Nicely played...
 
Oct 26, 2007
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this is why when I chase I dont bother with reports. too much drama, I leave it to someone else to deal with. (I'm sure you'll armchair QB me too for that though).

This is exactly why I don't call in reports.......too time consuming, the receiver wants to know EVERYTHING POSSIBLE about what you are seeing; plus with umpteen chasers out there, there is guaranteed to be multiple call-ins. I go to see and document the event for whatever enjoyment is left of this hobby. I am sure someone will respond to this just to keep the argument going, but I won't play.
 

rdale

EF5
Mar 1, 2004
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plus with umpteen chasers out there, there is guaranteed to be multiple call-ins. I go to see and document the event for whatever enjoyment is left of this hobby. I am sure someone will respond to this just to keep the argument going, but I won't play.
Had two chasers called in this tornado (of the "umpteen" out there :) ) this thread wouldn't have even existed.
 
Feb 1, 2012
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He was trying to save lives by making a report
Can we please drop the saving lives stuff? If the true purpose was to save lives, then he could have had his SN info saved on his phone, called it in, or followed up on the questions that were asked by the NWS office. Several simple steps could have been taken and none of them were.

This whole saving lives garbage from storm chasers is getting old. If you want to makes claims about saving lives then find a better way to go about it other than sending out a couple vague tweets.
 
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