Tornado area not on radar

August 22, 2005

WRIGHT, Wyo. (AP) — Some local residents complained that they didn't get enough warning when a tornado tore through town on Aug. 12, killing two people and destroying dozens of homes. But weather watchers say that without new radar stations, there might be little they can do.

"Campbell County and northern Converse County are like the black hole of Doppler radar coverage," meteorologist Eric Gardner of KOTA-TV in Rapid City said.

Wright sits about 140 miles from the National Weather Service radar station in Riverton and the same distance from the station in New Underwood, S.D. Although both stations can see high-altitude formations over Wright — thunderstorms often climb to 25,000 feet — tornados tend to form at lower altitudes.

More:
http://www.rapidcityjournal.com/articles/2...ocal/news03.txt
 
Just because this place had one fatal tornado doesn't mean its the new tornado alley. This is one of the least populated areas of the country, in the least populated state. Installing radar to cover every mountain valley would be insane if not impossible.
 
Does a tax payer in Illinois deserve better radar coverage than a taxpayer in Wyoming? The area is lightly populated but it is still populated. I certainly understand the need to focus resources where the bulk of the population is. There is a large chunk of real estate in southeast MT, southwest ND, northeast WY, and extreme northwest SD that has piss-poor or no radar coverage. There probably are not many chasers/spotters out there to assist NWS either. The forecast firm I'm employed by covers pavement forecasts in this black hole. Fortunately we still have satellite and radar interpolation...but don't mess with severe wx.
 
You don't move to Wyoming and expect government services to be the same... Sort of like expecting the police department to show up on your doorstep within 3 minutes like you can in the city - not going to happen and you knew that when you decided to live there.

- Rob
 
Originally posted by B Ozanne
Just because this place had one fatal tornado doesn't mean its the new tornado alley. This is one of the least populated areas of the country, in the least populated state. Installing radar to cover every mountain valley would be insane if not impossible.

Tell that to the family of the two victims. This is exactly the kind of attitude that keeps people in danger. Human lives don't depreciate in small numbers, but since it's not as "newsworthy" as the OKC F5, I guess most people seem to think "a few" lives are expendible. It's one thing to say "well they knew what they were getting into when they bought a beach house in Florida", but to say someone got what they deserved because they moved to a remote area is just cruel. The scummiest people on earth live in cities, so let's just protect them and screw everyone else eh?

This is the same thinking that keeps putting NOAA radio sites in MN and UT while places like Childress, TX continue to be in a void.

Pretty sad.
 
The money isn't there. So we either pull a few radars out of tornado alley where coverage is the best, or we try to make do with what we have...
 
I'll pipe in here as well. The NWS is fully aware of the gaps in the current WSR-88D coverage. No, I'm not an NWS Employee either, but I know they've been talking about it and the various resolutions available, one of which Greg Stumpf posted.

Rdale is also correct, there isn't enough money in the NWS coffers for the current system, much less trying to put in even more sites. Decisions were made years ago based on weather patterns and need.

I believe this works a little like Triage in the EMS world. A tough decision has to be made and it certainly doesn't console the person on the receiving end of that decision. Quite simply, you can't save everyone. You may want to, but it isn't going to happen with the tools we currently have available.

Hopefully, the Cell Phone Tower radar propposal and research will pan out. That would really give a boost to warning coordinators.
 
[Rant]

First generation DCAS systems involve low-cost, small radars deployed on cell phone towers or other infrastructure and designed to observe and detect hazardous weather and floods. These radars will collaborate with one another and adapt their sensing strategies to different end user demands and the atmospheric phenomena being sensed. Second generation systems will focus on volumetrically sensing wind and thermodynamic variables in a pre-storm environment, or clear air. The third phase of DCAS will involve mobile volumetric sensors that can communicate with ground based sensors.


The questions I have to raise here are:

1: Cost of developement and deployment.
2: Cost of Radar and other sensor Units.
3: Cost of labor to install and maintain units.
4: Cost of network to run these units.
5: Cost of training and continuing education.
6: Cost of litigation when people start taking the government to court because "these new radars interfere with my cellphone" (Yes..it will happen).
7: Cost of litigation when homeowners complain about television interference, radio interference, business owners complaining of communications interference, etc...(remember BPL (Broadband by Power Line)?)
8: Cost of lease space on cell towers and other structures.
9: FCC Licensing
10: Reports, Reports, Reports, Reports...everything from cost effectiveness, environmental impact, interference potential, and human impact, right down to who receives credit and makes money off of the deal.
11: Annual maintenance, repair, and replacement from damage costs.
12: Bureaucracy ...enough said.

Oh yeah...13: Cost of lawsuits from people claiming that every health problem that they have exists because of these new units.
vs

1: Cost of a few additional 88D units integrated into an existing system....which it has already been stated that we do not have the budget dollars available to implement.

Am I for the concept behind the new system? Yes. Do I think that, with a Federal Budget Committee that states that one additional 88D is too expensive for our budget, the Federal Government is ever going to foot the bill for this system? No way. Just like millions of great ideas, it will never see the light of day, because there are "other more important projects" out there...meaning projects that the people that donate the most money to the parties want...and weather research and operations just isn't sexy enough. Corperate partnerships only go so far, and they will never cover the cost of fully implementing and maintaining a system such as this.

[/Rant}
 
Originally posted by John Diel

I believe this works a little like Triage in the EMS world. A tough decision has to be made and it certainly doesn't console the person on the receiving end of that decision. Quite simply, you can't save everyone. You may want to, but it isn't going to happen with the tools we currently have available.



I agree with John's assesment. My comments were targeting the attitude that it's ridiculous to even try. I understand remote areas can't be covered (due to nothing but politics; lack of money isn't the problem, lack of give-a-damn by those in power is the problem..which is why NASA continues to get zillions poured into it and they actually kill people).

I would just like those who say it's insane to worry about remote locations being protected by radar say it to the families' faces. Somehow I doubt the conviction would be as present in real life..
 
Originally posted by Shane Adams

I would just like those who say it's insane to worry about remote locations being protected by radar say it to the families' faces. Somehow I doubt the conviction would be as present in real life..

Right on, Shane. Unfortunately, it seems that with situations such as these, the powers that be must always place a dollar aspect on people's lives. And if those lives don't add up to be more than the cost of the fix, then nothing gets done. It reminds me a bit of dangerous intersections in Little Rock. People can be maimed and injured, but until a certain death toll is reached, the city likely won't do anything to fix the problem.

Jason
 
Originally posted by Shane Adams
which is why NASA continues to get zillions poured into it and they actually kill people)

Everyone is entitled to their opinion. But, NASA is providing some of the data which is helping to intalize the models forecasters are using as well as some data in watch decisions. I don't believe NASA actually kills people anymore than a NOAA researcher dies in a helicopter crash traveling to McMurdo artic station. NASA has developed lots of things which have gone on to be used to save lives. Im sure if/when they deflate NASA's budget you can bet that money won't be going to science..

-Scott Olson.
 
when it comes down to it, your life is your responsibilty, dont wait for a warning to be issued because it might just be too late
 
"when it comes down to it, your life is your responsibilty, dont wait for a warning to be issued because it might just be too late"

So... take cover every time a dark cloud comes over your house? Don't think that's what we need to be suggesting to the general public.
 
This is the same thinking that keeps putting NOAA radio sites in MN and UT while places like Childress, TX continue to be in a void.

Here is an example of what one individual can do, from the August 2005 SERA Journal:

Danny Hampton, K4ITL, received NOAA's Mark Trail Award, presented for his support of NOAA Weather/All Hazards Radio.

Danny is known in the amateur radio community for his leadership in the Piedmont-Coastal Repeater Network (PCRN) and his many outstanding wide-coverage repeaters around the Carolinas. He used his construction skills and tower contracts to build and find sites for NOAA Weather Radio transmitters in Raleigh and Lumberton, NC, providing coverage to areas where existing signals were weak or non-existent.

The Mark Trail Award is most commonly awarded to people who spearhead projects to get receivers into schools, nursing homes, and other public places. Danny's contribution of several transmitters is fairly unique. Many PCRN repeaters are also SKYWARN hubs.

The National Weather Service has more than 900 transmitters on the air in the United States, but there are still holes in coverage, especially considering the limited antennas in use for most of the receivers. Funding for new transmitters is limited and slow. The Raleigh weather service has been trying to improve it's coverage for years, and thanks to Danny, are now able to get their broadcasts to more residents throughout their region.

A picture of Danny Hampton is on the front page of this quarter's issue of the SouthEastern Repeater Association's SERA Journal. The cover photo (which can be viewed at http://www.sera.org/journal.html) shows Danny pointing to one of his transmitter locations. If you look at the image you may note that Danny's eyes are closed.

That's because Danny has been blind since birth.
 
Originally posted by rdale
\"when it comes down to it, your life is your responsibilty, dont wait for a warning to be issued because it might just be too late\"

So... take cover every time a dark cloud comes over your house? Don't think that's what we need to be suggesting to the general public.

if they choose to then thats fine but we all know there is a huge difference between regular dark clouds and a wall cloud that can produce a tornado
 
Originally posted by Kevin Bowman+--><div class='quotetop'>QUOTE(Kevin Bowman)</div>
<!--QuoteBegin-rdale
\"when it comes down to it, your life is your responsibilty, dont wait for a warning to be issued because it might just be too late\"

So... take cover every time a dark cloud comes over your house? Don't think that's what we need to be suggesting to the general public.

if they choose to then thats fine but we all know there is a huge difference between regular dark clouds and a wall cloud that can produce a tornado[/b]

Yeah, and >99% of the public cannot distinguish "dark clouds" from a "wall cloud"...
 
Originally posted by nickgrillo+--><div class='quotetop'>QUOTE(nickgrillo)</div>
Originally posted by Kevin Bowman@
<!--QuoteBegin-rdale

\"when it comes down to it, your life is your responsibilty, dont wait for a warning to be issued because it might just be too late\"

So... take cover every time a dark cloud comes over your house? Don't think that's what we need to be suggesting to the general public.


if they choose to then thats fine but we all know there is a huge difference between regular dark clouds and a wall cloud that can produce a tornado

Yeah, and >99% of the public cannot distinguish "dark clouds" from a "wall cloud"...[/b]

That's true Nick. The General public seem to not Care at all to much about weatherm cloud forms, or any of that type stuff, they have better things to do. They might see a funnel and not even pick up on it..
 
Yeah, and >99% of the public cannot distinguish "dark clouds" from a "wall cloud"...

That's true Nick. The General public seem to not Care at all to much about weatherm cloud forms, or any of that type stuff, they have better things to do. They might see a funnel and not even pick up on it..

To be honest, the general public doesn't need to know about severe weather besides the basic understanding of what it can do - and how to heed warnings to get to appropriate shelter. However, it is somewhat obvious that some of the public ignores warnings or just don't care...

While chasing on 6/9/05 this year near Hill City, KS... I (along with Kurt Hulst, Dan Robinson and Mike Hollingshead) ran into an idiotic construction crew blocking traffic, while in the path of the gigantic supercell (and the now rain-wrapped tornado). There were warnings on this storm for probably an hour or more prior to this occurance... IMO Public officials like that should know about stuff like that. While blocking dozens of people in the path of a storm with a history of strong tornadoes, you'd know they didn't have a clue. Of course, my assumptions were proved right, because the first thing we said to the construction worker was that we were all in the path of tornadoes, and they she had no idea. It's surprising that they pay no attention to the weather at all, while living in the middle of Tornado Alley during the spring.

I documented this entire sequence very well on video. It's hard to watch such stupidity...
 
Hah, those type people even with people telling you don't believe you. You'd think if you live in Alley, you'd at least pay attention. Did they get hurt/killed, the construction workers? If they stayed their, then they probably mihgt have. Did they have access to warnings or advisories however? LOL, I would love to see that video..
 
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