New warning technology could give people more time to prepare - WMC Action News 5 - Memphis, Tennessee

New warning technology could give people more time to prepare

(Source: NOAA) (Source: NOAA)
(WMC) -

A new piece of forecasting technology was tested out before a potential severe storm outbreak back in the spring and it performed very well.

It was developed by NOAA’s Severe Storms Laboratory (NSSL) and it’s called the Warn-On-Forecast System (WoF). It identifies specific areas that are potential start points for severe storms to fire up before it actually happens.

On May 16, NOAA National Weather Service forecasters alerted residents in parts of western Oklahoma about the potential for large hail and damaging tornadoes that evening, particularly in the area around Elk City. They included a four county area in their alert, which went out 90 minutes before the storms developed and moved across the area.

An EF-2 tornado did develop. It killed one person, injured eight, and destroyed 230 homes and businesses. But instead of a 5-15 minute lead time, the people in the path of this tornado had 90 minutes or more of warning to prepare for potentially dangerous storms.

This technology is still in the testing phase and is not operational for use across the nation yet. Meteorologists at NOAA still want to tweak some things and do several more tests to get a better idea of the accuracy of WoF. If this event is any indication, this could be life-saving technology down the road.

You can read the full article from NOAA by clicking here.

Spencer Denton
WMC Action News 5 Meteorologist
First Alert Storm Tracking Team
Facebook: Meteorologist Spencer Denton
Twitter: @spencerstorm5

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