Effective 4/1/2013, all offices within the Central Region of the NWS, including NWS Jackson, KY, will begin issuing Tornado and Severe Thunderstorm warnings with enhanced wording and tag lines (see the two attached .pdf files for examples). A test of this concept was conducted in eastern Kansas and most of Missouri last year, and I believe the expansion of the test to Kentucky and Indiana will be beneficial for everyone here. Please take a look at the attached files, and if you have any questions or comments, you can either direct them to me or to Jim Keeney, the Central Region WCM, whose contact information is included in both files.
A few things to point out:
1. The “TORNADO…POSSIBLE” tag to be used in Severe Thunderstorm Warnings will be used primarily with squall lines, which can produce short-lived tornadoes like the ones that occurred during the January 30, 2013 event. These often show up on radar at nearly the same time that they occur on the ground, so it is believed that highlighting this fact in the Severe Thunderstorm Warnings that typically precede them will heighten the awareness and action of people in the storm’s path.
2. Most Tornado Warnings will continue to be issued based on radar, so will contain the “TORNADO…RADAR INDICATED” tag. When there is confirmation that a tornado has touched down, follow-up statements will then include the “TORNADO…OBSERVED” tag line.
3. The “TORNADO DAMAGE THREAT…” tag lines will be rarely used. Basically, these are reserved for confirmed supercell tornadoes (as opposed to the squall-line version) that we have reliable real-time visual confirmation for (e.g., live video, etc.) In other words, the West Liberty and Salyersville tornadoes of March 2nd last year would be the type of tornado in which this tag line would be included.
More in-depth information about the experiment can be found at http://www.crh.noaa.gov/crh/?n=2013_ibw_info.
As always, please let me know if you have any questions.
Tony Edwards – KJ4FYM
Warning Coordination Meteorologist
NOAA/National Weather Service