Episode 36: I’m Warning You!!

Thursday, August 3rd

Severe Thunderstorm Warning.  Tornado Warning.  Significant Weather Advisory.  Winter Storm Watch.  These are just a few of the weather messages that are conveyed by The National Weather Service to inform the public of dangerous weather.  But how much does the public truly understand about this ...

00:36:54

Transcript - Not for consumer use. Robot overlords only. Will not be accurate.

This is doing. Asked about one of nature's most fascinating phenomenon to share your tornado story with us by email Jenin Dan at tornado talk dot com. Yeah and dance at a tornado Dockett got content. Now meteorologist. Jennifer near Moore and Dan Holliday tornado Todd is on him. A touchdown as being. Earlier this incident. The union second week for the power key here is video. All right guys. As large and dangerous tornado confirmed on the ground. Again very near that the city of Greensboro for the tornado is still on the ground in the southeastern part of the city of Wichita. This is about as classic hook echo if you are ever going to see. It's often been said that we're in the communications this sense that our biggest challenge is communicating. From government officials to private forecasters everyone has a platform to communicate to the public. But are we doing it effectively when it comes to severe weather if we trust the source. Do we completely understand what to do when our lives are rest that's why we put our man on the street at that time and the woman. Man and woman team on the street to interview everyday folks we ask them a series of questions like do they understand what watches and warnings mean if and how they really react when they get the message you might be surprised when you hear their answers. They've also brought in a panel of specialists the history has spent their lives working to make sure the public gets the message Gary's accounts he had a 35 year career at the National Weather Service. Most recently he spent twenty years at the Mount Holly forecast office scary retired in 2016. From the weather channel meteorologist mark Elliott and doctor Susan Jessica who earned her Ph.D. in human communication at the Ohio State University. Since 1998 doctors Rascal has taught at a California university in Pennsylvania and she doesn't have a background in me urology that are fresh point of view is lying now lab has utilize your skills for the past six years on how weather is effectively communicate and. Our panel doesn't know collar folks on the street will answer our questions but each pull off further insight on current challenges and how they think we can improve its. This is episode 36 of tornado talk I'm warning you let's go out on the streets we wanted to find out who what does it mean when a severe thunderstorm warning. Is an effect I think it means. Should be aware that is so bad thunderstorm as in I'm gonna be in our area. Veterinarian has storm within my area that can cause potential. And that conditions. Or right we're. That happened. Things I did. Reserve did in the house searches or crewmen. That means that's me. Thunderstorm. On a severe thunderstorm is going to be issued in the area. These see what else is there may be severe weather in the area since leaving your corrections. So severe thunderstorm warning is defined as the storm or storms containing winds of 58 miles per hour or higher. And nor hail one inch in diameter or larger there's the weather channel's mark Elliott thinks severe thunderstorm warnings are effective in getting the public to take action. Oh my answer is I hope so because he's currently the best that we have severe thunderstorms are often ignored completely. Especially when compared to their tornado warning counterparts. We're not broadcasting about a severe thunderstorm warning that we even don't necessarily cover every severe thunderstorm warning because. They're not all created a scene you know there are some men just barely meet criteria as some error. So Harvey on the threshold. This you know I generic severe thunderstorm that. You did more. With the athletics even more damage even more destruction. You know we try to focus on those fantasy points day every single lightning strike is this year and lately is not part of a severe thunderstorm more. Doctor Susan task w.s how quickly react is largely based on how much you've been exposed to that type of weather. In other words if your all too familiar with the severe thunderstorm warning are you when you probably know what it means he wanted to. He thinks that I think really researches Ford house here the special scientific research is that it depends a lot on the theocracy where people live and grow op. I'm or where they've been living so that in areas where weather like severe thunderstorms really requires that people pay attention. I'm in order is based paint in order to arm do what they need to do. Then it people are much more aware what the terms mean or at least. Aware enough so that they know what they need to deal in regard to that message. But I think if other parts of the country where that isn't necessarily the case. Like for example I'm from. Northeast originally am from northeastern New Jersey I am I think those times how are are left. Cleared to keep on because. They are less dependent. You know we want ads stopped means in order to go about their lives. So that I grew up just outside of a new year which I'll an area and the way I would put it today is that people just really focused on getting from one place to the next. And one half of the next. But even if you've been born and raised in the planes you may have to scratch your head to understand the term significant weather advisory our roving reporters wanted to find out if every day folks know what that means to. I've heard of that and I feel like it's something that we just need to be aware that there could be some. Some sort. Whether it again in our area that we need to be watching. Vacation meant something in your area and his intensity hasn't this could be flooding or it could be. Other things like ice. Severe so thunderstorms. Yeah I have but I'm not sure about it city and. Think he missed a dollar a weather. I'm no clue. Tom that is just a warning that there would be some weather on in the area that is strange tour couldn't. Becomes severe. Please this potentially something's horizon you're area. Behind. It's usually the criteria for a significant weather advisory would be strong thunderstorms were Halen when threats or just below that of a severe thunderstorm warning. Some national weather services may call them significant weather alerts or special weather statements. Does meteorologist Gary Sick cow ski believe the public crafts this term. That was not something that's the issue here we have about college also smaller I was there are so impersonal places with him. In the country whether listeners position and then there's another place and so whether or whether or not a asunder when you were there you know through some familiarity with C. You know pitching itself times that you know hasn't helped so the traveler who's moving extraordinary and they come across something that they've never heard before they won't know exactly how to how to handle that. As most pleasant or positions during its entry. I think in some ways it's enough to say that or else. And that is shown as the National Weather Service is looking at this storm that you are concerned about. And that there are hazards. But it may not meet those severe thunderstorm warnings wrestles. Doesn't mean they don't matter or that they aren't happening. Since sometimes that the best part of that's significant weather advisory is the fact that you know NASA web services on. Right yours you're. UT again because of whatever condition you see outside. And did you see it there is Lynette and that goes a long way in reassuring the public. And no matter where we live we expect all of the media outlets to be on a tornado warning. Our men and woman on the street pose the question what do you do when a tornado warning is issued. Sudden for a yard. Such a war pitch well. I probably shouldn't do this visitors annually because I think. And it looks like there actually can be something in my any immediate vicinity I'm going to go under my steers and my. But if it looks like it's not immediate and things to be very aware of what's going on mixer my family my pets are inside and be ready and prepared to get. Checking we issued and she is injured on your list of these. You should. What was going on outside with the weather. Might just start watching. Your own the clouds. To see and I am I keep listening. For more information. There might be coming. To warn us about any storms. Classes determine where there's going to be safe shelter during this period of time. You should keep calm watching the weather channel wants not to TV. And he should be going into the basement. And on finding some shelter just in case. As you can tell everyone on the street had different plans for what to do when a tornado warning is issued that's one of the reasons the National Weather Service made changes to how they issued tornado warnings. I creating a tiered threat level. We know that each tornado warning isn't the same therefore the way it was a word and would say whether the threat was radar indicated. And a search tornado or catastrophic one that's that's the life and property in danger. Doctor Susan Jessica says the reaction is again based on where people live. I think they are probably going to turn out I think they already turned out a lot of plates to be more active. And they are hurrying into unity that again are familiar we're. Got problems aren't that you created by tornadoes. So and the emergency managers and utter a sudden partners and BM WX for example they really I think Bennett got a lot of from these distinctions being made and that much additional information and being conveyed. Rhetoric and actually writes his day. That a tornado has been radar indicated if you're an emergency manager in the opinion that this its a little bit. And you live and work in a tornado prone area that's very meaningful information. Content and really. Gives them a very good fans. Instantly. I doubt I'll do what kinds of reactions and reaction tying the it's really desirable from their point this year. So I think that in those situations they really will turn out to be extremely useful for communicating. Concisely. And in the and that very efficient manner. Because there is the back tears well all. I think more more people are getting used to knowing that okay tornado warnings and it means a tornado wanted to have an eight time. Then he. You know outside tornado warning means okay. This is a real deal saying no more waiting around and then the PS or do you or or the emergency you know tornado emergency either way. Really heightens the awareness. PS watch this all to helping the public notice that data that you have to. Pay attention even more so any word on a normal severe weather today those kind of things and more grace is better and some points that you know. The public. May not understand enough. But there's other points that we don't give the public enough credit and so when you win you can. Get more information and explain the differences in those are some days no sense of warnings. At least some people will take that into account their plans and and keep themselves sabres and that's really the bottom line then they'll all these things. Done by the National Weather Service. Are trying to keep more more people say they now live broadcasting side of things. It is. You know there's always it's. It's a tornado emergency is issued when a community is in danger of significant damage or loss of life. The first tornado emergency was issued on May third 1999. During the devastating F five twister in Moore Oklahoma. After all these years would you think the public is pretty sure what the alerted us. I don't today kind begin there's a little different wording again you know emergency upfront started emergency you know you are gonna ask there's this little sort of the beginning of the product if you get absolute just communications but they're very. For the product so. In the Shell Oil up on their phone than those who are those murders over the so. You know and after that so and so look and that's something I'll never saw over. Other computers fairly easy to define the word emergency does today. Good results and also was. If I were to hear something declared as an ex emergency tornado emergency. I never get my attention but I can I also clear that box I'm not the average person anymore in regard to listening to these messages. I'm so I think it is basically a really neat to see where those chips fall. I don't think we'd be we're doing any harm I'm in using these terms. I'm sorry I suspect at least there's no harm being done but weather is being especially useful for people we'll have to wait and seeing. Slugger raises that has come out of the tears. Warning system. And Nash. If you really you know what I needs if there is a tornado emergency isn't tornadoes. In progress in town. You know that's really bad thing when you're in that town near that town are watching on national media you you you know it that's different a different day. I'm busy severe weather days alerts he comes so often that they quickly become too much for someone to keep track. So we quizzed our unsuspecting men and women on the streets what is a watch warning and advisory. A watch means that. We just need to be too. Wary of something coming our way the warning means there's actually something that has been spotted in our area that we need to be concerned about. We'll lots indicate that they can. Conditions are our kids learn something happens tornado watch would be conditions there are nice and bright alert three and a half. A warning indicate that there. That it is an area. More severe. Anxiety. And then again on Tuesday that. Forward and anticipating. Possible warnings of Iraq's. The watch means that it is possible in the morning means it is. Could be evident again. Senator my theory is just. Like a heads up. Me. On the watch is it me becoming area really known a warning is it's actually in the area. And you should really be watching out. Or a watch means it could happen. A warning means it's cumin and I don't know what an advisory is that some. New health watch is again there's there's the potential. Home warning. Is that Sears. That there's something has been spotted. Advisory is just. Be careful there may be something arriving here area. Well Bob knew the difference between all three does meteorologist carries it koskie think the average person has figured out what each of them are. Now that's an easy one I mean I think that people support five cents. You warning a little you know little higher. Does the others that. Otherwise no I mean I think again if he goes back to murder. You know we're competing noise a lot of other solutions. That people have to deal with citizens of the world order restoration but I also just you know realize. And for them and trust expect him to understand the nuance between ecological warning advisory. Despite all the preparedness and all the outreach. So low that people. You know you only go forward center advisory. You know people say it's okay systems down groups and that is that it does advise them. And you charge us so we. Preaching millions of people are just like Poland you know facility to be so bad that ought to be and they're pretty you know. And in you know only the technically we would certainly not a hero as well you know. A lot just go to read or heard by Israel so there's a depletion deferring any type of upgrade or downgrade but that is the that some people do their reading. We try to do better recognition they're trying to understand. People still ask me what differences all the time. And so we shall we you know I spend. Hours every week it's. Talking to myself it feels like about. Want to watch means there is a warning you when you when you need to see sheltered money to pay attention. And yes invariably ask the question I guess what really is a difference. So. Well he used to trying to teach them and more people live here that information may get the better it will be a long time. It's 100% correct now know. The storm siren has been around for decades we know from episode fourteen tornado topic so people rely on them. While others believe they are old and antiquated. As our respondents are scattered from coast to coast who went to find out if they lived near wine and a solo. How they react when hearing in sound. Yeah I have in my area is actually. Golf. Home. It's like me. Ten miles. No we don't cook because we live in the country. Yeah we got a siren. More blows means a better get in the house may eat so much. Speaking. What do we do we can hear them. You shouldn't be. Watching for air pop something like a severe weather I'm usually a tornado. Well not all of the people knew they had sirens in their area. Even if they did their tends to be confusion based on where you live with. Some emergency managers sound the sirens for high wins while others only turned them on when a tornado threatened us. Doctor Susan just code doesn't think it's easy for the public to be so sure what that siren means. I think it appears that is certainly the potential for a lot of confusion because people are fairly mobile. I'm and they move across counties and jurisdictions all the high. And and then you look at people who sort of travel are living whether it's resales are changed order transporting goods or whatever works and the difference is like it here looting across an area out. Think clearly that would be hard to track and almost impossible I can worry also look out the Indy the lately I'm signal locations. And things like counties. Where honest to Pete an awful lot of people can't even tell you the county they live in an Oscar time never mind what the other counties might be surrounding them. And I know myself when I travel the country pulling. Really an area. I may have like that that academy in ninety can't eat. Now live but after that it right here warn you happy and I'm and I landed him know that I am a bad score a tornado watches and and then when you were watching this story and. Coming from one direction to another direction I and I just got leaked what county is aware. And where mining is it moving towards Mir didn't think who found that that is it. Can you once you hear the sound of the siren or receive a warning is only effective if you react. Sometimes the best indicator is boiling clouds in the sky where do you take shelter of bad weather is coming to ten. This is its creation be going into base and people Wear on me going and making sure that there's a bunch of walls around you and your serve and on the cover yourself. If it's like a thunderstorm you really don't do anything. If it's snow home. Each kind of stay inside they sure he had everything you at old country you need everything mom and then when it's done shovel it out just fine. I go into there's an area closet just below stairs. In the house and that's actually the lowest point and now. Interior of the house where. If I'm in the office we actually have drills and there's actually a future court nor. It doesn't have windows and it has concrete block construction or. The safest places actually under the stairs is known as anything and I had a basement that would be replacing them and items and if I had enough time I would go under the house possibly but I. Jewish roots and greens live in the country don't have a basement so we have to is. Seek shelter and a I will hit which is close to the house and available. We know how vital it is to have a plan of action when a tornado threatened your home or workplace but what if you were driving or outside and away from home when a tornado approached. Would you know what to do. Our. I think can and it just hope that there's room going away from where it's morning. Thank you just tango because there. Getting out of my car to get into the gates is the better option. Dugard and her birds are you in a ditch I would try to pull over and and stay and be in a low place I. Here I mean to keep on how severe ankle overt and if I. Not any car and going you know we treat him. If you're not near sturdy shelter and he's supposed to go to a hollow area like there's a ditch around. Some area. Some shelter from. Defense but you know try to look for someplace that this doesn't have. Paul on you. It's just slowly she's. It's clear that it's not so clear what to do when a tornado was approaching while you're driving or outdoors. Doctor sees in Jessica says she has some ideas how to improve the leading people to safety. I don't think I'm cute things are really difficult there on its car thing equity do you want your dry. Received here in an area and he got no particularly well and it may be someplace you even drive during daily bases. But if you were really an emergency that you were they are around and seek shelter yeah. You might not know what he options are hoping he'll. And so I think track and Q. I communicate almost any. Easier to call it pop and people are getting your math it is you know thanks to modern technology or it. Under a wide range of circumstances. And at the bracket hack series and that picture you can't know. Where perky and your circumstances are. Win and they're gonna hear what you're suggesting that the deal is currently goggle eye on in terms of messaging rate. How do we. Tell people what to do you one solution would be giving them a range of options. And eat here in his dirty building goes to enter location or go to the lowest floor and I'd give your area in your car now on NB CDs help pull over. And if you spot a sturdy structure for example I. Man I I think this is one of the hardest not Europe's. And one other solution to that of course we eat. A stronger community based education at all and I'm. Venue of some kind. Of leaks and gas. I could serve children personally write to I think. Kids are they're sponges and the younger they are the worst ones like they are and out and they. Will often communicate. To their Stanley what they've learned about things like this. At one time radio and television we're the only places to get details on severe weather. Now there are multiple ways in 2017. Are on the spot reporters sought to find out how the public gets alerted. Mainly from television now I seem to be getting a lot of them on the iPhone because they they can instantly I have had available right away. I do also. If I have the radio on I'm in the here and there and and the TV but I would say get a lot of them on the phone. We get some time notification to my phone and then I have a very good friends who is in the balances and talk to. Takes care payments mean there's something. Radio TV. My home now. I'm watching TV. Levi and generally from my cell phones which actually get cold weather updates automatically so it. My cell phones plus points. Signed to do other chimp and that answer makes the weather channel meteorologist Marc Eliot happy new year. But what concerns him is the social media platforms that public uses for breaking weather information so that's what's great is that us. There's now lots of options to get blown up watches and warnings. The biggest problem is the game. For people like you rely on social media for all of their warnings the biggest problem for him for me. That I notice is the the algorithms that some social media users including based not everything comes in any chronological order. So there will be watches or warnings put out in the social steaks and then come across your feet and look like it's in real time. But it's not so you're getting Italy and then here. Taking action comes on May already done. Or for an area that you're not in anymore something like that. On the other side and it you can say subscribe bonds sweaters again alerts from. The men and yes tornadoes which is literally put itself. Every single tornado warning we how preschooler playing how many population numbers are involved enough warning and really no real information and that does come in real time it eases. Actually your recent task you can't stress enough how vital it is to know what sources give you your weather information I just felt it was started trusting to other source. And it could be. Achieve decision conspiracy. To you know local and they're just opposite Libya commercial or the provider. There could be you have. That's you know Florio sources to meet people need to find whatever. Source that they. Fuel delivers reliable insider information and you know say that based on the fact that they've kind of the new zone for a while ignoring that they have. It's volatility they wanna hear the way they can understand that they talk about the things are important. This isn't just goes has her study shows free search for weather information is largely dependent on like your Asia us. Can tell you that under the researchers and pointing in all directions RO. The wind that there is no you don't Barkley that people get information. 100 defining factor here has to do with each. And so he ball I wanna see it over forty but it might be closer this XP these days I tend to lean towards traditional media especially television. And broadcast news at least Cabrera kept any like I am and radio. And it act young people that people I would teach undergraduates at high school student in junior high student that age range. They actually. Come out though they use. I'm social media they really are much more attentive to and respond better you messages. Better beat Cuba in a specially by friends or family. There there act despite beer you know wildness. They're wild ways in which they are interconnect. Or we think that that is connected these days. So it still interestingly program and interpersonal connections that facilitated. Through an electronic technology there telecoms. One that release had the most impact armed man. There is nothing more frustrating than canceling plans due to a threat of severe weather that never happens the weather personality on TV can become a target when regular programming is that erupted or forecast winds up being completely wrong. We once again put our microphones in your face to find out if you look for someone to blame when the weather forecast. Bust I. Inject I do I don't ultimately these kids they're taught by. No absolutely not I think they're trying to keep us safe and just because they. They be interrupt a programmers. Or anything else that it's their job to try to warn us of anything that might becoming I don't blame them at all. Now I mean it sold. Computer modeling and based on experience. Sometimes they get your right and sometimes they may miss and then. Nature does what nature does. Not that I give him credit for equipment tiny. Well it could be out of the model or could be the weather person so really depends I do it and the benefit of the doubt. Yeah you out of seven folks on the street felt it was fun to take out frustration on the weatherman in march of 2017. A winter storm in the northeast you didn't pan out like the National Weather Service thought it was. That drew sharp criticism from New Jersey governor Chris Christie a pollster called. And today and tell me that being a weatherman if you compare that being a pollster will be like a pollster saying through the night before election. Governor you could get 60% tomorrow night or 35%. Or someplace in between. I mean they still get paid. I wouldn't pay a pollster for the kind of prediction I don't know about how low should be paying these weather guys are but I've. I've had my fill after seven F here's the National Weather Service say that your. Series a cow ski took exception to those remarks as a former chief meteorologist in Mount Holly he knows how challenging winter weather forecasting can be. In an email he wrote quote it's a great disappointment to hear the governor speak that way about the National Weather Service. The Mount Holly office is a highly regarded office with a National Weather Service and deserves better treatment than that. And considering the outstanding forecast service by the National Weather Service during sandy and the disastrous way New Jersey mishandled using that information. I expect a more responsible perspective from my governor in quotes. Two regional line hey do you see this kind of reaction and again I would argue I do wanna grow up reaction wanna get socialist liberal pretty excellent would have more governor Christie's. This year you know he's. You can draw reaction sort of media but I. Having critical at Dover new Yorker recruit political donor George just don't shut Shahzad and New Jersey thing I'm gonna adjust and their political mayor your city so how. I assume I can be critical let's not you know it's business. Not just. Focused on March individuals whether it's wind to contrary. About nationalist serves in particular but also just whether or because in general. I'm just doll line they have gone too far the you know those statements that are blatantly inaccurate actually literally share. I think. On the other politicians. There's the sort of the poster child so further job search search engine handle that they should be a politician. Doctor Susan Jessica thinks political figures throwing qualified forecasters under the bus is a real problem. And I know from my work at the National Weather Service to democracy it's been in a very difficult situation that you cannot. I just come out and criticize a supporter themselves assign blame. Or even stage that person is alarming rate when that person is a politician. Com or member of the government and so this is really a difficult. Problem that's arisen because so much as its eighth with a decision making that garnered. I have an example you gave it actually was scary and the governor of New Jersey is really. Various pieces illustration of the problem. If there needs to be blankplay straight and that's sports. I'm most people I want to make sure the blame doesn't fall on exams and any politicians more than the average purse. Choosing a reliable source for what to do and how to get severe weather information could be lifesaving and ultimately. Mark Elliott says that's most important. Because the platforms that are out there me everyone equal to some degree. That. Not everyone knows the source of their forecast. You can guess. You know not not jump on the that defeat news bandwagon but that term being news team because those. Purposely. Did see full news stories. Mostly during the past election cycle. That word. Media who look as if they would say for example coming out of us yes but it was really. You know it CVS. Dot. GA dot URL not something else you know it but it the branding look the same and beat. The style of the news look the same even though really wasn't from a source that people. Actually should be trusting him. You could make the same argument and really weather has been has been fighting this kind of theme is think for years and years and years now. Are there are weather enthusiasts. That went out or asks I'm not saying that's bat bingo we all work that before getting full training. But it is not seen or ass as someone that does happen though the full strength. Dana. You're alert. Tech tweak. Snaps email phone car. A lot of chatter because her series castellanos bash even though he has retired from his position he envisions how communication Indian troops. Then we need to get direct sort of shooting slump talk about a tornado watch or tornado warning to what does that mean what do I need to know what we need to be doing the next five minutes what do you do you do next two or three hours you watch. Who do other guys who I think still hasn't missed us. The journey to go in terms of those. They can do it during you know as quickly as possible to move toward impacts. And they're talking. You know and there's no talking to human DOD says it totally different. You know solo who visit the murky group supersize just just talk like you would if you are so assembly member firm board they have to worry about her upcoming event. Talk talk quite that in general when you're talking the other so you know it's dietary or personnel underneath the dirt this virtual ago. I think that's what our cars burned and high impact of those. He's dropped to Jergen as quickly as possible talk to people who worked on cultural and stronger family member who was worried about. An upcoming world. Tornado touches ridden researched and produced by Jennifer and there are more and Dan Holliday with the assistance from Brandon Molineaux. Our thanks to Brenda and Bob Craig Dustan Jerry Lynn the leaders and Torre who gave us their insight and opinions from across the country. We explore and investigate nature's most fascinating phenomenon on every episode of tornado talk. Subscribe on iTunes and follow us on FaceBook Twitter image to Graham. Catch up on past episodes I've been listening anytime online at tornado talking dot com.
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