The Atoka, OK Tornado

Six people lost their lives last night. UPDATE: 7 reported. 5 for Arkansas.

Severe weather is a funny thing. It can roll in like a beast and swamp you before you have a chance to act. That wasn’t the case last night.

People were joking last night about the amount of notice we had about the storms.

But the kicker comes when the Storm Prediction Center was not issuing watches for the State of Arkansas. Countless meteorologists and storm chasers, as well as armchair weather geeks like myself were asking the same question last night:

Where. are. the. watches.? Where?

When the Storm Prediction Center (SPC) of the NOAA declares a Watch it is a pretty substantial action. The whole intention of the watch process being ran by the SPC is because of the sheer area they can monitor and cover, versus the more locally driven National Weather Service (NWS) which relies on local information and local announcements.

Can I say that those folks were placed in harms way due to a lack of action by the SPC?

Not directly. but what I can say is it has been proven, by the SPC’s own reports, that early warnings and watches save lives.

And last night that did not happen. By the time the SPC issued the watch for Arkansas there was already a report of a tornado on the ground due North in Missouri that came right across the Bentonville, Bella Vista area. Fortunately in Missouri we had our watches easily a full 45 minutes before it hit.

No matter how you cut it, last night was inexcusable.

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This entry was posted on Friday, April 15th, 2011 at 08:47 and is filed under Severe Weather. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. Both comments and pings are currently closed.

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