I’m still working on my chase logs for the last few days (some video is already up on my YouTube channel), but I wanted to sound off about two inaccurate information nuggets I keep hearing in media reports of this past weekend’s tornado outbreak, including, unfortunately, on the PBS NewsHour, a broadcast I respect greatly.
1. I keep hearing the number “120 tornadoes” bandied about as though it were an official tornado count. I presume this statistic was gleaned from the preliminary SPC storm reports page for 14 April 2012. The problems lie with the words “preliminary” (self-explanatory) and “reports”, many of which may be redundant and still have to be reconciled. If there’s a burglary, and three people call the police to report it, you don’t count it as three burglaries! (Update: The most recent updated count from Greg Carbin is 60, meaning there were an average of two reports per tornado.)
2. A number of reports have cited NWS for giving “warning 24 hours in advance”. A 24-hour lead time on a tornado warning is simply not possible at present. The SPC did issue a High Risk Convective Outlook more than 24 hours in advance, but not a watch, and certainly not a warning.
That said, the media have done a decent job giving credit to the NWS for being on the ball with this outbreak. Bravo, NWS!
Another, more complete perspective on this topic can be found here.