The Overuse of severe thunderstorm warnings-Is there a better way? (156)

Joe Lauria, WDAF-TV, Kansas City, MO



The severe thunderstorm warning product has been around for decades in various incarnations. Many NWS offices issue hundreds of these over the course of a calendar year and, in some cases, thousands over the course of the last 5+ years. It's my contention however, as a broadcaster, that my customers (viewers) pay very little to no attention to this product anymore. When bombarded by thousands of warnings...there's "tune-out". In essence they're become "noise" in the "warning" world. I've analyzed the quantity of warnings issued for many of the NWS offices and particularly focus on the offices in Pleasant Hill and Topeka. Their mandate is clear as determined by NOAA directives. What I try to show is that the mandate, in it's present form, is not serving my viewers well. More often than not, the verification of severe thunderstorm warnings is less than 50%. My project shows alternatives to the current system by either raising the current minimum criteria for warning issuance or going to the extent of adding in a new type of warning and also shows the dramatic reduction of the number of warnings issued by the Pleasant Hill office each year should the minimum criteria change. My end goal with this presentation is to have severe thunderstorm warnings actually mean something again.