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Tangling With Tornadoes In Birmingham

DSC_6054 Being awakened in the middle of the night is seldom fun.

If your weather radio goes off for a Tornado Warning and then nothing seems to come of it, your first inclination may be to toss the radio in the trash.

If false alarm warnings have ever frustrated you, you missed a good chance to see ‘the other side of the story’ last night in Birmingham:

My head is still spinning after being around a bunch of very sharp scientific minds — the local chapter of the Nat’l Weather Association held its first meeting of the year last evening.

Kevin Laws, Science and Operations Officer for the National Weather Service’s local office, gave a fascinating presentation on Dual Polarization radar, a recent upgrade to the government’s Doppler radar network.

Kevin spoke about the success the NWS is having in working toward two huge goals:  Reducing the number of false alarm tornado warnings, and improving the probability of detection at the same time.  After hearing Kevin talk about the challenges involved, you realize quickly that this is a task that’s much easier said than done.

I enjoyed this meeting a lot.  If you find it interesting to learn how the NWS is trying to improve its warning and other services, this was a valuable chance to learn and appreciate what these folks are doing.

If you’re a weather geek, being part of the NWA’s local chapter is strongly recommended (you can join on line for less than $27; not a bad deal at all).

Visit the local chapter’s website for more information…

David