OKC-area Tornadoes on Storm Hawk and SelectWarn

Mike Smith

Please allow me to post some images that might be useful.

Attached are a series of Storm Hawk® images View attachment d879ddb6a9af7e5d20c344398bac13d4.bmp_.jpg from yesterday's tornadoes in central Oklahoma, from the perspective of a motorist at I-40/I-240. Users can upload high resolution street maps to Storm Hawk (not shown).

If a user is in the NWS lat/lon warning polygon or within 10 miles, Storm Hawk tones and the screen goes into "warning mode." View attachment d0bbdcb4076e70b9e341944237a068da.bmp_.jpgView attachment f28a8a5e5ea2eb3ce0cd936d458799cb.bmp_.jpg The full text of the warning is displayed. A warning can be recalled simply by tapping on the polygon or the warning summary at the top of the screen.

I have also attached an image of NWS LSR's plotted on our SelectWarn® system for emergency managers. 4406e637b51f380fc62e676fb70c436f.png Storm Hawk-originated storm reports would be displayed in the same way as these LSR's.

Thought this might be of interest. Feedback is always appreciated.

Mike, I have a few questions for you about your product since you are putting it out for review.

1) I notice that in this example as well as the previous that the radar data looks rather coarse. Is it even 4 km NIDS? Perhaps the resolution imporves as you zoom in - but not seeing any indication of that.

2) The projected path box overlays, are they based on storm table data, internal algorithms or subjective by a forecaster? I'd also like to see the box broken up by times (e.g. location estimates at 15, 30, 45, and 60 minutes). Actually, just getting the current storm table would be helpful (such as keying the storm of interest). Also, the initial box width is much too broad IMO.

3) How are reports relayed to the NWS, and what is the time delay? How much effort is it to include specifics, such as hail size? Also, if reporting a tornado - the current GPS location certainly is not good marker point (unless you are in the tornado), so what procedure is followed to generate the report?

4) In fairness, the LSR's for this case were not released until well after the event - so that overlay info is overly optimistic. But, you suggested that Stormhawk reports would show up - so do you mean only those made by yourself, or if there were multiple users that each would be able to see the other's reports in near real time?


Excellent questions. Let me address them in order.

#1. It is 4km data. We did this for bandwidth reasons. However, with cell networks speeding up, we expect to have finer-scale data by spring. Since the $9.95 per month fee to WeatherData includes software updates, our users would get it at no extra charge.

#2. The warning polygons are created by the NWS meteorologist when they send out the storm warning. A study by the ICT NWS indicated they are 70% more accurate than the county warnings.

#3. The Storm Hawk-generated reports are sent from the Storm Hawk to WeatherData where they hit a QC algorithm and are then relayed to the SelectWarn users and, when we get this worked out with the NWS, an email is generated. We have tested this from as far away as Las Vegas and it takes 20-30 seconds from the time the "send" command is issued on Storm Hawk to when the report shows up on SelectWarn.

#4. You are correct about yesterday's OUN LSR's not being released until after the fact. Most NWS offices are issuing LSR's in real time. Yesterday, OUN was putting reports in severe weather statements. I attempted to call down there today, but it is Veteran's Day. I will get in touch with them and see if they will put the reports in LSR format.

When the local NWS office issues the LSR's in real time, they plot almost instantly. I have attached a SelectWarn image of the Oct. 19 hook echo east of Potosi, MO. with plotted storm reports. STL NWS sent these reports in real time. The "wind damage" was a building at a lumber yard that collapsed on 6 people.

We had tornadoes, severe thunderstorms and flash floods in south central Kansas on August 28. The ICT NWS did a great job of getting out LSR's in real time which were supplemented by KWCH TV and KFDI's reports from Storm Hawks in the field. It is very impressive to watch a loop of the ground truth reports, radar and polygons show the history of the storm. KWCH scooped the competition by broadcasting a tornado and then starting their 10pm news in front of two homes destroyed by a different tornado. Email me at: [email protected] and I can send you a PDF about that case.

With regard to storm reporting, please see the screens below. Note that for "tornado" one enters a direction and distance. If you enter 2-3 miles, Storm Hawk transmits the lat/lon for a point 2.5 miles away. For hail and snow, it transmits the report as the location of the Storm Hawk.

With regard to multiple users seeing reports, it depends on what our client wants. If it is a TV station, they may or may not want their network visible to others. Emergency managers do want the data distributed, many TV stations will, and most others will, as well. Our goal, whenever possible, is to make this data available to the maximum number of people.

The Potosi Storm SelectWarn image:

Storm Hawk Reporting screens.




Note the tabs across the top. A full range of meteorological and natural disaster reports (wildfire, earthquake damage, etc.) can be created from Storm Hawk.

We are using the storms in the Memphis area this afternoon as the background for all of the reporting screens.

To keep the attorneys happy: Storm Hawk and SelectWarn are covered by several U.S. patents with additional U.S. and foreign patents pending.

Appreciate the questions and feedback!