The headline says it all: “Experimental model predicted tornado’s path hours, not minutes, before it formed.” [LINK]
Forecasters that day were working with researchers from NOAA’s National Severe Storms Laboratory who were testing a prototype Warn-on-Forecast system (watch this video), a new research tool that has the potential to dramatically improve predictions of extreme weather at specific locations up to three hours in advance.
It was the first time the Warn on Forecast (WoF) model was used by the NWS in this way.
“We had a picture of the storms and their evolution before they became life-threatening,” said Todd Lindley, science operations officer with the NOAA NWS Norman Forecast Office in Oklahoma. “We used this model guidance to forecast with greater lead time and greater confidence.”
“Based on the information from the NWS, we knew storms would intensify when they reached our area and were able to activate the outdoor warning sirens about 30 minutes ahead of the tornado,” said Lonnie Risenhoover with Beckham County Emergency Management.
But hey, by all means, let’s savagely cut NOAA’s federal funding. It’s okay. Just affects a few southern states.