Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Researchers Demonstrate NEXRAD Radar Helps National Weather Service Forecasters Save Lives

Date:
June 11, 2005
Source:
American Meteorological Society
Summary:
Tornado warnings have improved significantly and the number of tornado casualties has decreased by nearly half since a network of Doppler weather radars were installed nationwide by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration's National Weather Service a decade ago, according to a study published in the June issue of Weather and Forecasting, a journal of the American Meteorological Society.

Tornado warnings have improved significantly and the number of tornado casualties has decreased by nearly half since a network of Doppler weather radars were installed nationwide by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration's National Weather Service a decade ago, according to a study published in the June issue of Weather and Forecasting, a journal of the American Meteorological Society.

Related Articles


Researchers examined the impact of Weather Surveillance Radar-1988 Doppler (WSR-88D), also known as NEXRAD, which was installed in the 1990s during the National Weather Service's $4.5 billion modernization. They found the radars have significantly improved the quality of tornado warnings issued by NWS forecasters and lowered the number of tornado casualties nationwide.

The researchers, Kevin Simmons from the Department of Economics and Business at Austin College in Sherman, Texas, and Daniel Sutter from the Department of Economics and Cooperative Institute for Mesoscale Meteorological Studies at the University of Oklahoma in Norman, Okla., analyzed a dataset of tornadoes that occurred in the contiguous United States between 1986 and 1999. The date WSR-88D radars were installed at each National Weather Service Forecast Office was used to divide the sample for comparison.

The percentage of tornadoes warned for almost doubled - from 35 percent before WSR-88D installation to 60 percent after installation. In addition, the mean lead time of warnings increased more than four minutes, from 5.3 to 9.5 minutes.

The researchers also conducted a regression analysis of tornado casualties, which revealed expected fatalities and expected injuries were 45 percent and 40 percent lower for tornadoes occurring after WSR-88D radar was installed at NWS Weather Forecast Offices. Their analysis, which controlled for the characteristics of a tornado and its path, also found expected casualties were significantly lower for tornadoes occurring during the day or evening than late at night throughout the sample. This provided indirect evidence of the life saving effects of tornado warnings.

"Anytime public money is used to invest in a technology like Doppler radar, it is important that we evaluate the results," Simmons said. "Our study provides strong evidence that this investment has had a significant effect on reducing injuries and fatalities from these storms."

Harold Brooks, Editor of Weather and Forecasting and research meteorologist at the NOAA National Severe Storms Laboratory in Norman, Okla., said, "This is the first effort to quantify the impacts of the radar on the core National Weather Service mission of protecting lives and property from severe weather."

Radar is a vital tool for the 122 National Weather Service forecast offices as they issue nearly 3,000 tornado warnings each year. The average warning lead time continues to increase and in 2004 was 15 minutes.

Every year, an average of 1,200 tornadoes kill about 55 Americans, injure 1,500 people and cause more than $400 million in damage. Considered nature's most violent storms, tornadoes can occur any month of the year with peak activity from the months of March through July.

###

The American Meteorological Society (www.ametsoc.org) is the nation's leading professional organization for those involved in the atmospheric and related sciences. Founded in 1919, the AMS has more 11,000 international members, organizes nearly a dozen scientific conferences annually, and publishes nine peer-reviewed journals.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by American Meteorological Society. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

American Meteorological Society. "Researchers Demonstrate NEXRAD Radar Helps National Weather Service Forecasters Save Lives." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 11 June 2005. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2005/06/050611003815.htm>.
American Meteorological Society. (2005, June 11). Researchers Demonstrate NEXRAD Radar Helps National Weather Service Forecasters Save Lives. ScienceDaily. Retrieved January 27, 2015 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2005/06/050611003815.htm
American Meteorological Society. "Researchers Demonstrate NEXRAD Radar Helps National Weather Service Forecasters Save Lives." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2005/06/050611003815.htm (accessed January 27, 2015).

Share This


More From ScienceDaily



More Earth & Climate News

Tuesday, January 27, 2015

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Aquaponics Turn Suburban Industrial Park Into Farmland: Hume

Aquaponics Turn Suburban Industrial Park Into Farmland: Hume

The Toronto Star (Jan. 27, 2015) — Ancient techniques of growing greens with fish and water are well ahead of Toronto bylaws. Video provided by The Toronto Star
Powered by NewsLook.com
Storm Slams New England, Spares Mid-Atlantic

Storm Slams New England, Spares Mid-Atlantic

AP (Jan. 27, 2015) — A howling blizzard with wind gusts over 70 mph heaped snow on Boston along with other stretches of lower New England and Long Island on Tuesday, but failed to live up to the hype in Philadelphia and New York City. (Jan. 27) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Mexico's Volcano of Fire Erupts Again

Mexico's Volcano of Fire Erupts Again

Reuters - News Video Online (Jan. 26, 2015) — A huge plume of smoke shoots into the air as activity in Mexico&apos;s Volcano of Fire picks up again. Rough Cut (no reporter narration). Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
Time Lapse: Snow, Frost Piling Up in New York's Times Square

Time Lapse: Snow, Frost Piling Up in New York's Times Square

Reuters - US Online Video (Jan. 26, 2015) — Video shows the accumulation of snow and frost in New York City&apos;s Times Square over five hours on Monday. Time Lapse (no reporter narration). Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
 
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:  

Breaking News:

Strange & Offbeat Stories

 

Plants & Animals

Earth & Climate

Fossils & Ruins

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:  

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile iPhone Android Web
Follow Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins