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Space...The Final Frontier
Urbandale, IA

1 edit
reply to EGeezer

Re: Weather Channel is worse than politicians...

said by EGeezer:

What's important to me and my neighbors is that if there's a NWS tornado watch or warning, our SAME receiver will activate and nag us. It doesn't go off for a TOR:CON.

I and everyone else in my neighborhood knows to be on the alert if a NWS tornado watch is issued, or take cover if a warning is issued.

The TORCON thing adds nothing to the equation except confusion.

Description of TOR:CON values:

0 - near-zero chance of a tornado or severe thunderstorm nearby
2 - very low chance of a tornado nearby, but hail or strong wind gusts possible
4 - low chance of a tornado nearby, but hail and/or strong wind gusts possible
6 - moderate possibility of a tornado in the area of concern
8 - high probability of a tornado in the area of concern

Most lay people know what watches and warnings are, but I doubt many can recite the TOR:CON values.

I've been watching the Weather channel the past day or so, but just to see the videos and be glad it's 75 and sunny where I am.

The TOR:CON is something they talk about in the days leading up to an approaching severe weather event. It's something you'll see when they're discussing the forecast for the next few days. If you want to, next time you hear one, check the Storm Prediction Center's probabilistic forecasts for severe weather potential. They line up almost perfectly. It seems to be highly based off that. What it does is give people a heads-up to maybe make sure they have batteries for their weather radio or know where it is in the first place.

A tornado watch, on the other hand, is issued a few hours in advance of a potential severe weather event, and the warning when such weather is imminent.

I don't see anyone here criticizing the Storm Prediction Center for issuing its severe weather outlooks. The TOR:CON is basically the SPC website for weather "dummies". I would never advise somebody to rely on the TOR:CON instead of getting a weather radio or paying attention to issued watches and warnings. Though I actually hate those radios because the beeps and voice used trigger anxiety in me. I have one in the event all my other sources fail, but I prefer in the event of really bad weather to first turn on local news sources for their live radar and storm tracking. I go batty without visual information.

Edit: In my experience, people really don't seem to know the difference between watches and warnings anyway. Seriously. They also lack awareness about which county they live in, which counties surround them and what directions those counties are, and what cities are nearby that they can use to determine how close something might be to them in the event a warning is issued. When I was in high school, a friend and I were out during a tornado warning, and we stopped to take shelter. The people there where whining about having their shopping interrupted, insisted it didn't look "that bad" out, and kept asking to be allowed to leave the mall. That was in 1998. I haven't seen much difference since then.