Some offices not following the NWS directives for TOR's!

rdale

EF5
Joined
Mar 1, 2004
Messages
7,562
Location
Lansing, MI
Anyone else notice that some NWS offices have NO idea how to time a TOR warning?

DTX issued one for nearly an hour for a storm moving into the western part of a county, headed east at 40, and the county is only 20 miles wide. Cancelled early.

- Rob
 
The only tornado warnings I've seen from GRB so far tonight have had valid times of 37, 29, 44, 31, 52, and 34 minutes, respectively. They have not yet issued a TOR valid for 69 minutes tonight, from any source I have at least. The 37-minute warning was cancelled 19 minutes early and the 52-minute warning was cancelled 13 minutes early for one of its two counties, both of which seem pretty routine. All of the other warnings so far have been allowed to expire on schedule. DTX's 53-minute TOR was cancelled 13 minutes early, again not all that unusual.
 
WFUS53 KGRB 240214
TORGRB
WIC009-087-240315-


BULLETIN - EAS ACTIVATION REQUESTED
TORNADO WARNING
NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE GREEN BAY WI
908 PM CDT WED JUN 23 2004

Issued at 908, across the wire at 914 (strange delay) and valid to 1015p so 67 minutes in my math. And the storm left the county by 925p

DTX wasn't cancelled til :40 into the warning but the storm had cleared the county at :31 into the warning...

I understand the need to pad things - but again if a storm is moving at 40 and the county is 20 wide it'd take a LOT to still be in that county an hour later. ESPECIALLY for storms that only briefly showed TOR characteristics on radar. The DTX one was halfway into the next county when the warning was originally set to expire.

- Rob
 
Originally posted by rdale
WFUS53 KGRB 240214
TORGRB
WIC009-087-240315-


BULLETIN - EAS ACTIVATION REQUESTED
TORNADO WARNING
NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE GREEN BAY WI
908 PM CDT WED JUN 23 2004

Issued at 908, across the wire at 914 (strange delay) and valid to 1015p so 67 minutes in my math. And the storm left the county by 925p

Is this the warning you're referring to:

http://kamala.cod.edu/svr/0406240214.KGRB.wfus53.html


008
WFUS53 KGRB 240214
TORGRB
WIC009-087-240315-

BULLETIN - EAS ACTIVATION REQUESTED
TORNADO WARNING
NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE GREEN BAY WI
908 PM CDT WED JUN 23 2004


THE NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE IN GREEN BAY HAS ISSUED A


* TORNADO WARNING FOR...
BROWN COUNTY IN WISCONSIN
OUTAGAMIE COUNTY IN WISCONSIN


* UNTIL 1000 PM CDT


* AT 908 PM CDT...LOCAL LAW ENFORCEMENT REPORTED TWO POSSIBLE
TORNADOES IN OUTAGAMIE COUNTY. ONE STORM WAS PRODUCING A TORNADO
NEAR KAUKAUNA NEAR THE INTERSECTION OF I47 AND HIGHWAY 55 OVER
SOUTHERN OUTGAMIE COUNTY. A SECOND TORNADO WAS REPORTED TO BE
DEVELOPING NEAR NICHOLS OVER NORTHERN OUTAGAMIE COUNTY. THE STORMS
WERE MOVIN EAST AT 40 MPH.


* ONE TORNADO WILL BE NEAR...
SEYMOUR AROUND 915 PM...
ONEIDA AROUND 930 PM...
AND THE SECOND TORNADO WILL BE NEAR...
WRIGHTSTOWN NEAR 920 PM CDT...

MOVE TO A BASEMENT OR SMALL INTERIOR ROOM ON THE LOWEST FLOOR OF YOUR
BUILDING.


LAT...LON 4457 8856 4429 8834 4428 8801 4460 8805


$$
TH

I, like Kevin, never found any warnings issued at 9:08 that lasted until 10:15.

Jason
 
I believe Rob is referring to the time in the header:
where it reads 240214, 0214 which is 914 pm CDT
to 240315, 0315 is 1015 pm CDT,
compare to the 908 pm CDT to 1000 pm CDT in the text.

008
WFUS53 KGRB 240214
TORGRB
WIC009-087-240315-


908 PM CDT WED JUN 23 2004

THE NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE IN GREEN BAY HAS ISSUED A

* TORNADO WARNING FOR...
BROWN COUNTY IN WISCONSIN
OUTAGAMIE COUNTY IN WISCONSIN

* UNTIL 1000 PM CDT

Mike
 
Yep, looks like someone changed the valid time in the text without changing it in the UGC coding. Sounds like a mistake, not a CLUELESS person.
 
Okay - I'll give the benefit of the doubt... Why issue a 45 minute warning (using the text and not the code) for a storm that will leave the county in 11 minutes?
 
I'd agree with Kevin; just a mistake. The thing you guys have got to consider is the workload demand on GRB at the time and how well they were staffed for this event. These could have an impact on the quality of products issued and would certainly increase the chances of a mistake if the balance of resources weren't there.

Heck, even Six Sigma allows for an occasional mistake! :)

Regards,

Mike
 
I wouldn't post this if it was an isolated event... Many times TOR's (especially dop-only) are issued for MUCH longer than the storm will be in the county even if it is dropping a hose. Since most dop-only TORs are false, wouldn't it be a better idea to make those shorter events and reissue if conditions warrant 30 minutes later?
 
I wouldn't disagree Rob, but the problem may be originating from further up the chain than the local offices. Or, to be fair, it could be a classic case of CYA from the MIC and WCM on down.

Has there been any recent independent publications on FAR/POD/CSI statistics recently? That would shed a lot of light on what may be happening in these instances.

Mike or Evan, if you're lurking, give us some OTR insight and opinions on this.

Regards,

Mike
 
Again I'm not picking on GRB as an office as they are FAR from the only office to do it - this was just what I noticed when searching last night... A 45 minute warning was issued for a storm that was going to leave the county in 15 minutes -- nobody has yet to give a scientific reason for the 30-minute additional timeframe. My bigger concern is the one hour TOR's issued for doppler-only indications... It's MUCH easier to issue a 30-min and reissue in a half-hour if the storm still looks nasty but no spotter reports, versus cancelling one 30 minutes in and instead sitting for an hour on a storm with spotters reporting no tornado.

- Rob
 
Again I'm not picking on GRB as an office as they are FAR from the only office to do it - this was just what I noticed when searching last night... A 45 minute warning was issued for a storm that was going to leave the county in 15 minutes -- nobody has yet to give a scientific reason for the 30-minute additional timeframe. My bigger concern is the one hour TOR's issued for doppler-only indications... It's MUCH easier to issue a 30-min and reissue in a half-hour if the storm still looks nasty but no spotter reports, versus cancelling one 30 minutes in and instead sitting for an hour on a storm with spotters reporting no tornado.

Considering that nobody who has responded to this thread is currently assigned to GRB nor were any of us in the office during the events in question, why not e-mail the WCM these questions? It's hard to piece together the whole story from just a few snippets of information. Why not get it straight from the horse's mouth?

The WCM's name is Jeff Last. Here's his page at GRB:
http://www.crh.noaa.gov/grb/wcm.html

Here's his e-mail address:
[email protected]

Jason
 
Storms don't always maintain a consistent heading and speed, as the writer of Warn-Gen might testify. Storms that intensify will often slow down as they root in the boundary layer, or make hard right turns and pummel nice cars with gorilla hail. 8)

So if you think a storm is going to intensify, or even has the potential to do so in your county, you might issue a warning with some wide temporal boundaries, much like SPC issues watches that comfortably cover areas from initiation through the temporal and spatial lifespan of any storms they expect, and with some room to spare. I don't see this as a mistake--it's good sense.
 
That was a supercell embedded in a squall line - there was no chance it was going to stop and change directions after sustaining 40+mph speeds for 1-2 hours.

Again this is NOT confined to any one office. GRB happened to have the warning I posted primarily because they screwed up the UGC code so it appeared worse than it was. But it's happening more and more often and others in this thread have covered the fact that it's a CYA vs scientific.

- Rob
 
I will not speak for other NWS offices, however I can speak for myself as a NWS radar meteorologist... As many of you may know, all NWS tornado and severe thunderstorm warnings are generated graphically.

In theory, the text product should not be touched unless additional information, ie. the inclusion of a spotter report, etc.. are inserted. Warngen, however, is far from perfect, and there are many times when the SVR, TOR, whatever needs to be edited. I find it strange that the expiration time was changed... because if you change the expiration time, you MUST change the UGC coding on the top (and soon to be VTEC coding)... it is a NO-NO (in our office at least) to edit UGC coding!! If there's an error in expiration or counties, we re-gen it with warngen.

Anyhoo... warning duration philosophy is never easy, and the warning forecaster will usually error on the side of "longer warning" vs. "shorter", at least that's why I do. It is very simple in warngen to gauge the duration of the warning if one has the storm motion correct... simple linear extrapolation, which warngen shows graphically. Of course, storm forward motion is never always constant.

It takes experience, obviously, as a radar meteorologist when issuing sound warnings. I can't imagine they've had a ton of svrwx in wisconsin so far this season... and with new builds always occuring with AWIPS, etc.. sometimes Warngen templates get messed up, etc.

On another SVR & TOR note... the DDC office no longer gives pathcast TIMES... only the pathcast towns or the proverbial "rural portion of X county". ;-) I love the desolate high plains!

Mike U in DDC
 
"the DDC office no longer gives pathcast TIMES... "

Why?

The DDC CWA does not have very many towns compared to most other parts of the country. There is a lot of open rural area, and if there's no town impacted, we would get a lot of "X miles south of Y town at Z time". If a thunderstorm is quite large, the arbitrary location with reference to a town can be confusing and sometimes misleading. A location may be getting strong winds and heavy rain in advance of a pathcast time as well. Yes, customers can be confused when we tell them that a severe thunderstorm will be there at Z time and they may be getting non-severe thunderstorm conditions well before the predicted severe thunderstorm time. There can also be inconsistencies in the times from initial warning and subsequent SVSs, and this can be due to only subtle change in the warning operator's track of the storm. Again, more unnecessary confusing to the public, in our eyes.

This is something fairly new our office is doing, and we'll just have to wait and see how the public/media responds. In our eyes, there's just too much uncertainty in nailing down an exact minute for a town in the warning. We prefer to keep it simple by saying "hey, this location will be impacted at some point during the valid time of this warning."

Mike U
 
This is something fairly new our office is doing, and we'll just have to wait and see how the public/media responds. In our eyes, there's just too much uncertainty in nailing down an exact minute for a town in the warning. We prefer to keep it simple by saying "hey, this location will be impacted at some point during the valid time of this warning."

Mike U

That makes sense to me...

The by-the-minute feature relative to the general uncertainty of future storm motion, etc, reminds me of another thing quirk I have -- street level mapping... I always get a kick out of local media when they pull up a radar map and zoom into a storm, oh, 120-150 miles away. Then, they zoom in and activate street-level mapping, and proceed to say EXACTLY (i.e. the intersection) where the rotation is over... But wait, being 120 miles from the radar site, they are telling where the mid-level rotation is, not necessarily where the low-level rotation is.. By being so detailed in their analysis, I think it portrays a false sense of security for those in the area but not living on the exact street they say the rotation is... There've been cases where the actual tornado was 5-10-15 miles from the center of the rotational couplet on the lowest scan... The only time when real time street-level mapping should ever be used is when the feature-of-interest is close enough to the radar to make using street-level mapping valid. I know there are politics / ratings behind a lot of this, but it just bugs me...
 
There is a lot of open rural area, and if there's no town impacted, we would get a lot of "X miles south of Y town at Z time". If a thunderstorm is quite large, the arbitrary location with reference to a town can be confusing and sometimes misleading.

Speaking as a user of those products, I always found it confusing to hear "17 miles SSW of East Podunk or 12 miles E of Hicksboro" as a storm location/path forecast. In the same token, leaving out all pathcast times doesn't make a lot of sense to me, either. I like a blend of sorts...when it's going to pass over a town, use the town name, and pathcast the time as "by (time)" instead of "at (time)." When no town is in the path during the forecast period, "rural portions of (county)" works very well.
 
Severe Weather Statements:

On a similar note, I notice some NWS offices do a excellent job, when it comes to issuing timely Severe Weather Statements, telling you the severe thunderstorm warning or tornado warning continues for such and such county and having statements telling you when the warning is cancelled. Some offices I have notice do a fair job in issuing severe weather statements.

I have also notice a few times this year, seeing a Tornado Warning was issued for such and such county and never seeing a SVS sayiing the Tornado Warning was cancelled for that county.

Mike
 
Severe Weather Statements:


I have also notice a few times this year, seeing a Tornado Warning was issued for such and such county and never seeing a SVS sayiing the Tornado Warning was cancelled for that county.

Mike

Mike, of course if the tornado warning goes until expiration and never needs to get cancelled, there's not going to be a cancellation weather statement. If the metr has timed it correctly, there really shouldn't be too many cancellations. :)
 
Hate to rehash an old topic but was checking on ILX (they had Peoria County under a TOR for 86 minutes) and found that the NWS directives clearly state that Tornado Warnings should not exceed 45 minutes. SVR's can be up to an hour.

Severe Weather Statements should be issued at least once during a warning and may be issued at the conclusion.

- Rob
 
Originally posted by rdale
Hate to rehash an old topic but was checking on ILX (they had Peoria County under a TOR for 86 minutes) and found that the NWS directives clearly state that Tornado Warnings should not exceed 45 minutes. SVR's can be up to an hour.

Severe Weather Statements should be issued at least once during a warning and may be issued at the conclusion.

- Rob

The Peoria county warning was cancelled at 11:15 :

390
WWUS53 KILX 060414
SVSILX
ILC143-179-203-060430-

SEVERE WEATHER STATEMENT
NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE LINCOLN IL
1115 PM CDT MON JUL 5 2004

...A TORNADO WARNING CONTINUES FOR WOODFORD AND TAZEWELL
COUNTIES UNTIL 1130 PM CDT...
...THE TORNADO WARNING FOR PEORIA COUNTY HAS BEEN CANCELLED...

So the warning was in effect for 52 minutes, not 86. A tornado was reported with this cell at 10:40 - so a lead time of 17 minutes, which is actually pretty good. An SVS was also issued at the time of the tornado report - so I don't really see anything wrong with how the situation was handled there (so 2 SVSs for the Peoria county warning). Regulations may advise that the warning times are limited, but there could be reasons behind the choices to sometimes have extended warnings times that are not outwardly apparent, so it seems unfair to lambaste the weather service on every occasion.

Brown county in in NE was under a TOR for 57 minutes last night - but in two separate warnings. To me, this is no better or worse than if they had issued a single hour long warning and put out an SVS at at the mid-point (they actually issued several SVSs).

I currently live in the ILX CWA, and I do have my fair share of gripes with their performance - but these are more based on whether a warning should be issued for a particular storm and for what area (county-wide vs. partial county - the latter is NOT done here). Warning duration just doesn't seem like that big of a problem so long as there is still active convection within the warned area.

Did you ever contact Jeff last at GRB? Chris Miller is the WCM at ILX: [email protected]

Why don't you contact them about your concerns, and we could all benefit from a better understanding of the basis for their office's decisions on warning times.

Glen
 
"So the warning was in effect for 52 minutes, not 86."

A Tornado Warning was issued for Peoria Co at 10:04pm until 11pm, then a Tornado Warning was issued for Peoria Co at 10:23pm til 11:30pm. Not quite sure why that happened but in any case 10:04 til 11:30 is a 86 minute warning. 10:04p - 11p is 56 minutes, 10:23p til 11:30p is 67 minutes. The NWS directives quite clearly state that Tornado Warnings should not exceed 45 minutes when issued. It does not mean that you can issue an hour+ warning and cancel early - it says that when tornado warnings are issued they are to be for a duration of 15-45 minutes.

"so 2 SVSs for the Peoria county warning"

I was responding to Mike & Jeff above.

"Did you ever contact Jeff last at GRB? "

You may have missed my previous post - it appears GRB was more of a coding error because the met tried to tweak things he wasn't supposed to tweak and the UGC was messed up. That's not clueless, just a mistake.

"Why don't you contact them about your concerns, and we could all benefit from a better understanding of the basis for their office's decisions on warning times."

I'm just forwarding these to the HQ contact for the directives, I figure since he is the one responsible for making sure that TOR's never exceed 45 minutes he'd get a little more respect from the offices. It amazes me to see so many offices going against the regulations that were written to make sure all offices do things the same way instead of individual forecasters making things up on their own...

- Rob
 
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