NSSL launches severe weather blog following deadly winter tornadoes

NSSL research meteorologist Harold Brooks and Warning Coordination Meteorologist for the Storm Prediction Center (SPC) Greg Carbin made the first posts on the new U.S. Severe Weather Blog on the NOAA Weather Partners homepage yesterday.  The collaborative blog was created to facilitate communication about the impacts of selected severe weather events, particularly tornadoes, in the United States.

Deadly tornadoes tore through Oklahoma on Tuesday, February 10 killing eight people in the southern part of the state.  The winter severe weather occurred on the heels of the anniversary of the 2008 winter tornado outbreak, sparking questions from the media and the public.  NSSL and the SPC were able to comment through the new U.S. Severe Weather Blog launched the following day.

In a test before the official launch, Carbin posted a “Severe Storm Update” late Tuesday morning indicating the potential for severe weather later in the day.  “All indications are that this system will induce severe thunderstorm development later this afternoon across parts of Texas, Oklahoma, and Arkansas.  The SPC has expanded the higher severe weather probabilities across parts of these areas,” he wrote.

Brooks followed with a comment late Tuesday addressing a common question regarding the rarity of winter tornadoes.  His answer was, “On the afternoon of 10 February, at least one tornado touched down in northwest Oklahoma City and western Edmond, Oklahoma.  A question of interest was how rare this event was.  The question revolves around two issues-the time of year and how far west the tornado occurred.  Tornadoes as far west or farther west than the Oklahoma City-Edmond tornado have occurred rarely in January or February since 1950,” Brooks concluded.

Tornado events traditionally bring many media inquiries to NSSL and the NOAA Weather Partners, which includes NSSL, the National Weather Service Norman Forecast Office, and SPC.  “We hope the U.S. Severe Weather Blog will allow us to share the information we have been able to gather about an event more efficiently to better serve the public,” said Brooks.  “This blog is not intended to provide critical weather information, or discussions of our broad range of severe weather research topics,” Brooks added.  Visitors are encouraged to view the local websites of the NWS, SPC, NSSL, or the Norman NOAA Weather Partners for other types of information.