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Why Some Tornadoes Go Unreported

Pretty crazy in this booming technological age that this happens, but some tornadoes slip under the The National Weather Service radar so to speak. How?

In fact, the NWS missed more than 25 percent of tornadoes from October 2007 to September 2016, according to the National Centers for Environmental Information and Steven Nelson at the NWS office in Peachtree City, Georgia. That number climbed to 39 percent or higher in 2013.

 Check this out. Tornadoes are now broken down into one-minute segments for verification purposes. Each of these segments is given a “hit” or “miss” label. Any time tornadoes spend outside a tornado warning or any tornadoes that form or last outside of tornado warning times will be counted as misses, which may lower the rate at which tornadoes are successfully detected using this metric.

But you know what it’s like to bombarded with tornado warnings and never even see anything close to one. Well, the NWS adopted a goal of lowering the “cry wolf” perception in the early 2010s. This is the public perception that if a tornado didn’t hit one time during a previous tornado warning, it definitely won’t happen next time.

Fascinating reading at weather.com. The big reason seems to be the NWS adopted a goal of lowering the “cry wolf” perception in the early 2010s. Technology allows for better detection of stronger tornadoes, but some marginal tornadoes still may not get warned.

More from Paul Cook

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