Terms that spotter/Media use that bothers me

Shane Adams

I don't get "confirmed funnel" reports second-hand. The only way to confirm a funnel (since they cause no damage) is to witness one, and therefore reporting "confirmed funnel" second-hand seems inaccurate IMO. Rather, "a funnel was reported" seems more in line.

Anything non-severe shouldn't be reported....SKYWARN nets are for reporting severe weather, not current conditions. The non-rotating wallcloud drives me nuts, but the one I hate the most is "developing funnel". Really? You've got to be pretty intuitive to predict a funnel developing from a rotating wallcloud before it appears.
 

rdale

EF5
Mar 1, 2004
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Lansing, MI
skywatch.org
Anything non-severe shouldn't be reported....SKYWARN nets are for reporting severe weather
Ehhh, not really. Skywarn nets should not RELAY non-severe reports to the NWS unless asked, but there's no harm in knowing 3/4" hail is with the cell if there's a SVR out and nobody is getting anything.

The non-rotating wallcloud drives me nuts
Many NWS offices specifically ask for that. I think it's a remnant of the 70'/80's when wall clouds were the "precursor" for all tornadoes, and it just never got deleted from literature. But you'll find many a NWS presentation still asking for wall clouds - rotating or not.
 

Zachary Lassiter

Extreme case of that on TWC this evening. Alexandra Steele, who I generally like, pulled a real boner, saying something close to "These radar images are right now! Not even seconds old; right now!"
I have not watched TWC in years... but like 5-6 years ago I swore there radar they used for broadcast was always 20-30 minutes old.
 

Mike Smith

The decluttered radar is 10-15 minutes old. The single site radar while virtually live at the moment it is updated (if they are using Level II data, and only about ten seconds old if Level III) but only updates every 4.1 minutes, at best.

I have never seen a "live" radar on The Weather Channel; but some TV stations have them, for example KSNW and KWCH in Wichita.
 

Shane Adams

Ehhh, not really. Skywarn nets should not RELAY non-severe reports to the NWS unless asked, but there's no harm in knowing 3/4" hail is with the cell if there's a SVR out and nobody is getting anything.
I figured you might correct me on this....but yeah, the RELAY thing is what I'm talking about I guess.......basically I don't wanna hear "we got heavy rain here" in the midst of tornado and severe hail/wind reports.


NWS offices specifically ask for that. I think it's a remnant of the 70'/80's when wall clouds were the "precursor" for all tornadoes, and it just never got deleted from literature. But you'll find many a NWS presentation still asking for wall clouds - rotating or not.
Understood. Bet it gets really busy during the Summer months when everything produces non-rotating (non-severe) wallclouds.
 
May 22, 2007
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Muskogee, OK
I hate using tornado on the ground, and I'm sure open for suggestions on how to bridge that gap, on-air, between wall cloud/funnel/strong rotation/could produce and an actual tornado.

I hate that "tornado on the ground" is insanely redundant, but it does serve to drive home the point.
How about this James....."The non-rotating wall cloud has begun to rotate...now we have a funnel cloud beginning to spin up.....We officially have a spin up tornado of undetermined strength." I think the viewers would immediately switch channels! I agree about the redundancy but does the public really care? Do they even know? I'm with you, if there was better wording I would use it but so far, "tornado on the ground" is the best we have.
 
May 25, 2011
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Weld County, Colorado
Bumping an old thread here, but it's like fingernails on a blackboard for me when the TWC on-air people say "ominous looking clouds" so often. This from my first spotter class many years ago -- our instructor was adamant that reporting storms as dark, scary, ominous, etc., was completely useless, since most thunderstorms ARE, and it's an emotional reaction, not a factual observation. They're getting paid for this, so tell me WHY it's ominous (wall cloud, scud, inflow, rain shaft, beaver tail, funnel cloud or ???) and we're good. Got a good chuckle out of one gal's feature presentation (TWC again) on atmospheric heating -- referring to the "libido" of sunlight hitting the earth's surface. She said it repeatedly through the entire segment, and no one corrected her. I was watching and waiting, too ...
 
Feb 4, 2012
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Massachusetts
This has nothing to do with "storm spotting" - but, up here in the Northeast around this time we here "Wintry Mix" quite a bit. Sounds like it could be a Starbucks latte flavor or a damn box of assorted cookies! LOL.
 
Apr 14, 2011
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Alexandria, LA
This has nothing to do with "storm spotting" - but, up here in the Northeast around this time we here "Wintry Mix" quite a bit. Sounds like it could be a Starbucks latte flavor or a damn box of assorted cookies! LOL.
Yeah, I remember that from when I used to live in Ohio. Mixed precip is mixed precip; there's only one kind. If I'm wrong, I'd love to see a summery mix.

One of my pet peeves when watching chaser videos is that to tell from the commentary, there's only two kinds of tornadoes - wedges and huge wedges.
 
Jun 17, 2007
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Woburn, MA
Yeah, I remember that from when I used to live in Ohio. Mixed precip is mixed precip; there's only one kind. If I'm wrong, I'd love to see a summery mix.

One of my pet peeves when watching chaser videos is that to tell from the commentary, there's only two kinds of tornadoes - wedges and huge wedges.
And the use of the word "wedge" to describe seemingly every tornado. Look, if it is not wider horizontally than vertically, it is not a wedge. Wide cones and barrels get called wedges all too easy. Also, "large tornado", again way overused. What exactly does that mean anyways? Wide at the bottom? Very tall? Many tornadoes will look "large" if you are close to them!
 
Mar 23, 2009
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Ypsilanti, MI
And the use of the word "wedge" to describe seemingly every tornado. Look, if it is not wider horizontally than vertically, it is not a wedge. Wide cones and barrels get called wedges all too easy. Also, "large tornado", again way overused. What exactly does that mean anyways? Wide at the bottom? Very tall? Many tornadoes will look "large" if you are close to them!
I suppose "complex quadrilateral" just doesn't roll off the tongue like "wedge"... :p
 
Dec 1, 2010
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Detroit area, Michigan
And the use of the word "wedge" to describe seemingly every tornado. Look, if it is not wider horizontally than vertically, it is not a wedge. Wide cones and barrels get called wedges all too easy. Also, "large tornado", again way overused. What exactly does that mean anyways? Wide at the bottom? Very tall? Many tornadoes will look "large" if you are close to them!
I was noticing that a lot on The Weather Channel this weekend. The anchors seemed to call everything a wedge. Even while showing video footage where it was pretty clear that it wasn't. (Perhaps a couple were borderline.)
 
Apr 27, 2010
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Monticello, il
I was listening to one of the local wichita stations and they were doing a couple extremely annoying things. Along with the afore mentioned every tornado was a wedge, they were telling everybody what EF a tornado was just by seeing it on their streamed live feed, I guess they are way smarter than the NWS who has to actually survey the damage, and then along with that even more annoyingly every time a tornadoes circumference would shrink they would instantly say the tornado is getting smaller and dying, which I think is terrible. Sure wedge tornadoes tend to be EF3 and above, but a tornado does not have to be wide to be an EF4 or EF5, the Jarrell, TX tornado comes to mind, I hate the media giving people a false impression that small tornadoes are weak or dying.
 
Jun 18, 2009
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Omaha NE
The local stations around Salina were describing it in the same manner. I had to explain to my friend (his first chase) that this was a terrible way to judge power/strength. It is unfortunate as it only perpetuates incorrect information.
 
Apr 27, 2010
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Monticello, il
The local stations around Salina were describing it in the same manner. I had to explain to my friend (his first chase) that this was a terrible way to judge power/strength. It is unfortunate as it only perpetuates incorrect information.
Exactly. I wonder how many people hear something like that and think oh its a small tornado I can be reed timmer and drive through it, or I don`t need to go to my basement, thinking it`s an EF0 or it`s dying because it's small. I always thought weather stations in the plains were better than in the midwest, but as of late I`ve found that not to be the case. There is disinformation and dangerous disinformation at that, everywhere.
 

ChristianTerry

Definitely the amount the media tries to determine the rating a tornado will receive before damage assessment. Calling tornadoes funnel clouds. Minor things mainly though.
 
Apr 14, 2011
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Alexandria, LA
The local stations around Salina were describing it in the same manner. I had to explain to my friend (his first chase) that this was a terrible way to judge power/strength. It is unfortunate as it only perpetuates incorrect information.
More bizarre is some towns' reaction on the rare occasions the NWS downgrades an EF rating; EF-anythings can cause damage, and a small town could easily be completely devastated by an EF-3. But it seems many take it as a personal affront if the scientists say the tornado that hit them was anything less than an EF-5.
 
L.B. LaForce said:
LOL. I found it funny one day, on an SN report, it said "NWS employee reports marble sized hail"
If I'm not mistaken, I think the default program in WFOs that is used to generate LSRs still lists "Marble Size 0.50 INCH," so it's possible that old terminology can still be floating around. Old habits can be hard to break, even among forecasters.
 

StormScotter

Enthusiast
Apr 23, 2012
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The Weather Channel - everything is either a wedge or a multi-vortex tornado, even if it's a skinny little rope... :rolleyes: