Stoking the Fire Between Public and Private Sector Weather

I was a lead forecaster for the Topeka WFO for about 10 years in the 1990's. I was also the first WSR-88D program leader when the radar came online in 1993 (KTWX) where I developed various user functions and RPS lists to be used in severe storm warnings. In all the events I worked, I have a hard time believing that an algorithm will interpret the data and make warning decisions without the forecaster having the final call. Knowledge of the pre storm environment was crucial for me to have some confidence on the storm type(s) that would likely occur. Although during that time period the TVS and hail algorithms were continually being fine-tuned, they were not 100% accurate without interpreting the data, usually by four panel reflectivity and velocity analysis. I still see that the NWS false alarm rate (FAR) is still fairly high for tornadoes, so work still has to be done. And some meteorologists were better at interpreting the radar data during a warning event than others, so this has to be considered as well.

I also worked for AW back in 1977 just after graduating from college, so have an understanding what went on there during that time. But I'm sure things have changed a lot since then. Hopefully the NWS will remain the only source of warnings as adding other private sector products to the process will confuse the public.