Terry’s Take: Impact based warnings
Beginning April 1st, the National Weather Service will issue impact-based warnings for severe thunderstorms throughout the Midwest. This is an expansion of the successful NWS experiment that began last year. It was implemented after surveys following deadly tornadoes in Joplin, Missouri and Tuscaloosa, Alabama found that most people didn’t heed the initial warnings about the oncoming storms. The research also concluded that people in tornado-prone areas have become desensitized by frequent false alarms and don’t always pay attention to the initial warnings.
Offices in Missouri and Kansas last storm season began sending out “impact-based” warnings during severe weather that describe how much damage a storm could cause. Among the messages in the new warnings:
“COMPLETE DESTRUCTION OF ENTIRE NEIGHBORHOODS IS LIKELY” and “MASS DEVASTATION IS HIGHLY LIKELY MAKING THE AREA UNRECOGNIZABLE TO SURVIVORS.”
The goal of impact-based warnings is provide to provide additional valuable information to media and emergency management officials, which in turn is expected to improve the public’s willingness to seek the necessary shelter.