Weather Blog: New Tornado Warnings May Be Coming Soon

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March 31, 2012


Lester Pearsall

This is a good idea. I agree that folks have become complacent to the current tornado warning system. I personally take the warning very seriously however there are some folks on the volunteer fire department that I was a member of that do not. This is how folks get caught unprepared. Thanks for the info.

Cheryl Archer

I love that idea. The more info we get and specifics makes it safer for me and my family and friends. Thanks Brian for sharing this.


fantastic idea! I also think we need to petition congress to pass a law to change the buildomh codes requiring safe rooms in all buildomgs and homes to reduce or eliminate human deaths from these disasters. We used to have storm cellars and civil defense locations, we need thyem for these situations too.

Troy C.

I'm not sure what to think. If there are folks now who don't take tornado warnings all that seriously (which they should), wonder if 'tiered' tornado warnings would be any better at getting their attention? I'll be interested to see the results in the test markets. Seems odd though that after our recent (& frequent) bouts of tornadic weather, they would've included Louisville as a test market (not that I want a repeat of March 2nd in my lifetime).

Kathy Easterday

I think it is a wonderful idea, we are used to the warning and really do not take shelter when advised, we saw that in the last tornado that hit from footage taken by individuals, we know it can be deadly. Having said that the different warnings would be great. My question at this point would be, are the warnings going to be specific to an area or neighborhood. Say if there is a touch down in St. Matthews, will there be a specific sounding alarm or would it be say the Louisville area? or street? Details I guess is what I would like to know.


Personally I wish they could work on the sirens so that the siren in that area only will sound. I live in far southwest Louisville and when there is a tornado warning in Anchorage it sounds. I don't even go downstairs until I watch the weather and see where it is.

the idiot

Why not just issue a tornado warning when one is on the ground, not radar indicated? This is why people got complacent because there were too many warnings.Cut it to two warnings, tornado warning(touchdown) and tornado emergency(tornado producing damage).We need to cut the confusion,after all, there are still people who don't know the difference between watch and warning.


Great idea. Also sirens only need to sound in the warning box path.


Good idea. That way we know if it has touched down. I like the idea of maybe including the location of the touchdown, it's heading & speed in a PDS. Acually, you should take cover no matter what it is. They drop so fast as we saw last week!!!!! Keep in mind, Severe Thunderstorms can turn ugly very fast too if the conditions are right!


I agree with "the idiot" on the watch vs. warning thing. Some people either don't pay attention to the difference or just see the word TORNADO and freak out. We also have people that don't know other simple things, like what county they live in and how to read it on a map. But I guess that would come with any type of added information. You're always going to have those people that go overboard when severe weather hits. It's just a matter of knowing where to go and what to do if that happens in your area. Learn what you need to know and how it affects you, then make a plan!


Having three small children, and teaching preschoolers, I take every warning VERY seriously. But the new concepts would be helpful in explaining what is going on, and be beneficial to the kind of cover we take. For instance, mattress over head or sit on the mattress for comfort until the situation changes (in our basement of course).


I think this is a spectacular idea. Often times it is very difficult to distinguish between a tornado emergency and a regular tornado warning. They have it separated, but to the untrained eye they may not even read that. Also, this would help to distinguish between a time when a tornado emergency is not needed because the tornado does not pose, for lack of better terms, an obvious threat to life, but a tornado is still on the ground. I honestly think the only reason we should issue regular tornado warnings is because it is radar indicated.


The only problem with that system I think would be that some people will just ignor the standard warning. As we know a tornado can drop out of a sever thurderstorm at any time and some people will not take shelter.

Sam Haverstick

As the public becomes more aware of weather phenomena the more advanced the warnings can be. Many people still don't know the difference between a watch and a warning. Any change will have to be accompanied with a strong education campaign.


To me, you have to look at it in three ways: Media, General Public, Public Safety Officials.
Media may change their coverage a bit when a regular tornado warning is upgraded. I think you'll notice a change in an on-air meteorologist's voice, indicating that this is a serious situation and its time to act. Chances are though, media will be on with the original warning when upgraded warnings/updates come out after the initial issuance.
Public - I really don't think the general public is going to notice. I'm not sure people even read the "official" warning from the NWS. They generally get warnings from their phones from an app or text, from a weather radio (but turn it off just after hearing the part they want to hear), or TV. So, this tiered warning system - not sure how its going to play out. I think with the help of the Weather Tour, people may understand a bit better.
Public Safety Officials - Being in this field myself, I REALLY hope the siren mentality changes. I know people rely on our outdoor warning sirens as a means of getting a warning, and they don't realize they are NOT designed to be heard inside. They are for outdoor use. If you can hear them inside your house, thats great... but generally, no. What I am scared of is a change in the siren activation policy. I don't think it would happen, but ... who knows. What I'm afraid would happen is the siren policy would change to only sound when a PDS warning comes out. If a PDS warning only comes out if something is spotted, someone may think "then" is the time to sound the sirens. But I really hope it never comes to this. As it stands now - Tornado warning goes out, sirens go off.
Overall - It's a "beta test." I think it may decrease our FAR, if it ever gets here. I guess only time will tell. (sorry for ranting... lol)


Like everything else the government is involved in they are making it more complicated than it needs to be. There should be TWO types of warnings. 1-Radar indicated tornado & 2-Tornado Emergency, meaning a tornado is on the ground. Simple yet effective. Just my opinion, for what its worth.


A tornado warning is just that. A warning that one has been radar indicated, or sighted. That being said, if NWS can be more specific on the warned areas (which they have begun) the more the better. I do like the tonado emergency warning for when one is in contact with the ground and ia doing damage. either way still activate the sirens.


I like this approach. 2 warnings. Radar Indicated Warning & Tornado Emergency -- It doesn't matter if it's a PDS Tornado Warning or a Tornado Emergency. Either way, a DANGEROUS tornado is on the ground. I don't care if it's an EF-1 or an EF-5. To the person whose house it's heading towards, it's the same. EF-1 tornadoes kill people, EF-5 tornadoes kill people. So, whats the difference. People "should" act the same whether it's a Tornado Warning or a Tornado Emergency. I know they won't, but its a thought. I like your idea James!



The test market/cities were already planned out well in advance of our recent tornado activity. We'll probably see this roll out nationwide later this year...if the test is successful.



Living on Henryville Otisco Rd. I can tell you that I like this idea. Even though I took every precaution, you have to realize that as the tornado went through down town Henryville and took out the sub station (our power), it was still several minutes before the tornado could be seen out where we are. And that being said, it was still a couple of hours before we could get off our damaged road to see the devestating damage. I will of course always take every precaution that I can, however those few small minutes inbetween could make a difference for someone to get to better shelter. It was terrifying watching and hearing it take everything and I hope to never see it again.


I personally don't like this idea. The reason for the complacency is that there are too many warnings, too often, that aren't "real". It is someting like the little boy who cried wolf too many times. Last spring I lived in Taylorsville and in a single week we had five Tornado Warnings in Spencer County and not a single tornado. Most of these Warnings should have been clasified as Watches because they were merely situations in which the clouds were showing rotation, aka the situation was right to produce a tornado but neither a tornado nor a funnel cloud had actually been spotted. When this happens over and over again and these situations that are right for tornados to occur are called warnings instead of watches like they should be people become complacent and no longer think that a tornado warning is anything other than the liklihood that a tornado might occur. Instead of further complicating things by adding multiple levels of warnings the National Weather Service should revise their policies regarding what is a warning vs a wath so that warnings are reserved for when there is an actual clear and present tornado, and watches are used for situations such as upper atmosphere rotation which create conditions that could allow a tornado to appear.


Judging by a number of comments on the Facebook page during severe weather, I don't think it will help the general public much. You can see quite a bit of misunderstanding of what is going on. Also someone will ask a question about tornado safety, and someone will answer about opening windows to relieve pressure and other such myths. I appreciate the effort to make the public more informed, but the public doesn't seem to want to make the effort to become more educated.

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