THIS POST WAS ORIGINALLY WRITTEN IN APRIL 2011. A YEAR HAS PAST AND NOTHING HAS CHANGED. HOW MANY MORE PEOPLE WILL DIE FROM A LACK OF AN EFFECTIVE EARLY WARNING SYSTEM FOR TORNADOES IN THE USA? (March 2012)
Tornado Early Warnings are needed – not watches, alerts, or advisories!
Effective Tornado early warnings are needed as clearly and dramatically seen in the recent events across the USA. Several hundred lives have been needlessly lost because our society has not made proper use of existing and available technology.
Reality is not an optional choice – the simple overriding fact is that the current system of tornado watches, alerts, and advisories just do not work effectively because most people ignore or are not aware of them until it is too late. We continue to blame human nature instead of fixing the current system and making use of the tools we now have readily available. Placing blame instead of fixing the problem is easier but human life is too precious to squander any longer.
1) Existing Doppler radar systems in almost all modern airports and weather service stations are technically able to “see” tornadoes as if they were viewing the live on your television screen.
2) These systems know the rotational speed (magnitude/strength) of the tornado in real time.
3) These systems know the direction of travel along the ground of the tornado in real time.
4) These systems know the speed of travel along the ground of the tornado in real time.
With this information, it is a very simple and very easy to know almost EXACTLY where the tornado will be in 1 minute, in 5 minutes, in 10 minutes and in 15 minutes. Obviously, the dynamics of an existing tornado on the ground changes and the degree of confidence of EXACTLY where the tornado will be over an extended time is lower; there is a very high degree of probability of where it will be over a very extended period of time as long as it tracks along the ground. Some of these recent storm tornado tracks covered as much as 200 miles.
There should NEVER be a reason why warnings are issued and cover an entire county or state. County wide warnings are worse than no warnings because they encourage willful disregard for all warnings. When these very wide area warnings are given the vast majority of people who hear them are not in any kind of danger. So for these 90% of a given population that is warned but is not in real danger it is a false warning. After a number of false warnings it is very human to simply stop paying attention and to ignore the warnings. Yes – this is reality.
WORDS ARE IMPORTANT – Do not confuse WARNINGS with watches, alerts, or advisories. Receipt of an effective early warning must mean you have a very high probability of being impacted by an approaching tornado and need to take some type of action in order to save lives and reduce injuries.
Now – Let us assume that we solved the information of getting the now available information from existing Doppler radar systems about real time tornadoes shown in the above facts. How do we get an effective early warning to just those people and geographic areas in danger? No false alarms – if you receive a warning – you need to take immediate action because you are in a very high degree of danger. How many people would ignore this type of warning?
We now know we have a tornado and we know where it is and where it will be along its track for the next many minutes. How do we make sure a warning goes out to only those who are going to be impacted? We send a warning ONLY to those devices which are located in the areas to be impacted. Obviously, the data about the location of your mobile phone is always known. This is because your mobile phone has a chip with its own ID and constantly advises of its location for a wide variety of reasons. Knowing exactly where your phone is at all times means your phone could receive EFFECTIVE tornado early warnings.
In point of fact, ALL electronic devices can and should become “warning enabled”. You’re TV, bedside alarm, stereo system, PC, and any other electronic devices should receive a signal 24/7 which turns it on and emits a warning signal. Geo location is a widely used technology. It is cheap, ubiquitous, and easily installed in almost any type of enabled electronic device. All of your electronic devices should be sold with an IP enabled chip (jelly bean) to record and transmit current real time location. Yeah sure you say. Sounds expensive you say. Well it is not expensive. These devices in volume would add less than $2 to any device. How much is your life worth?
Dear Readers – if this post sounds like an angry rant, you have correctly felt my rage and sorrow at the countless and needless deaths occurring in the USA from tornadoes.