Wednesday, July 24, 2019

Ant Trails #WRN #Skywarn

Chasing storms tornado forming right in front of us
Can we be accurate in our descriptions, please? To the left is a photo from a Storm Chaser who described what appears to be a funnel as a developing tornado.  The apparent funnel was reported to the appropriate Weather Service office.

Appropriately, there was no tornado warning issued on this cell.

Some of the emergency management community are happy to engage the Chaser Community. Others are less than happy to see the ant trails in their neighborhood.

What are ant trails?  Those are the little red dots displayed on the RadarScope image below.  Each dot is an individual trained, according to SpotterNetwork standards, that allows them to report to the National Weather Service.  There is also a verification program that meet certain criteria.  There is also a process to weed out those who are consistent with their less than accurate reports.  

Clicking the dot, emergency managers, media folks, weather service professionals can get contact information for the dot. Typically, it's a phone number or email address for a name.  Sometimes, nothing is there.

Unlike SpotterNetwork and Skywarn operatives, there are other chasers who contribute little to public safety.  These individuals rarely report to the National Weather Service or the Local Emergency Management program.  If there is any report, it's video streamed on their private feed.  It appears these individuals act for self-recognition, rather than community good.

During an unpleasant discussion with a government employee, the individual stated he trusted a famous chaser more than he trusted local Skywarn individuals.  

Ant Trails
The latter spend hours learning what to report.  They give their time and gas to protect their local community,   Along with spending time learning amateur radio, they develop their radar skills with programs such as the OK-First and other training from the Oklahoma Mesonet while using tools such as NWSchat communicate with media and the Weather Service.  These folks are your neighbors and friends.  They live in your community.  They shop at your stores before and after the storms.   These individuals make StormReady and Weather Ready Nation programs reality.

Please ask yourself if the famous chaser will be in your community during the next thunderstorm or will he be in Timbuktu?  Was there a tornado warning issued because of the chaser's report?  Did the chaser report to the local government or the National Weather Service?

The average person needs three confirming events before action will occur.  For example, weather radio sounds, followed by a text, followed by siren would generally cause the person to take shelter. What will happen if only your chaser sends the only notice?  Someone, somewhere will see it.  The rest of your community likely won't.

If you are the average Citizen, please have three ways to get your warning from the National Weather Service.  Your favorite media app, the American Red Cross or Federal Emergency Management Agency app, the local warning process, amateur radio, all-hazards NWS receiver, your local AM or FM or TeeVee broadcaster, or your local Scanner Feed would be items from which to pick and choose.  The siren will be a late arrival in the warning process.

You can also trust your local Skywarn volunteer.   Join your local Skywarn effort to enhance the Weather Ready Nation and StormReady initiatives. 

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