From: NOAA
Published July 21, 2017 08:12 AM

Experimental model predicted tornado's path hours, not minutes, before it formed

As severe weather brewed in the Texas panhandle late in the afternoon of May 16,  NOAA National Weather Service forecasters alerted residents in parts of western Oklahoma about the potential for large hail and damaging tornadoes that evening, particularly in the area around Elk City.

Ninety minutes later, a dangerous, rain-wrapped EF-2 tornado struck the small town: It killed one, injured eight, and destroyed about 200 homes and more than 30 businesses.

Normally, meteorologists issue warnings based on radar depictions or spotter reports. By then, a tornado could be minutes from touching down. This time, the NWS issued an additional advisory for parts of four counties in southwest Oklahoma stating “... a high probability that tornado warnings will be issued.”

A new, experimental forecast model made it possible.


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