I’ve heard it all in the last 24 hours. From the “you all busted this forecast so bad” to “thank you for all that you all did, staying on -air and giving us the warning”. Truth be told, this system was forecasted well in advance (the small details were still missing, but weren’t necessary really), and given the meteorological conditions that we saw setting up well in advance, this had all the “right things” to be a major severe weather outbreak. Just because it didn’t impact your town directly, doesn’t make it any less of an event. Remember, the science is not perfect. And if the science is not perfect, then as a meteorologist, we won’t be perfect either. But sometimes we can be pretty dang close. Check out the following image.
The image above shows the evolution of the risk that The Storm Prediction Center sent out. It detailed the potential of something 1 week out. 7 days! That was 7 days to start thinking about this. We mentioned on air days ahead of this, that something could come together. We never stayed silent on the matter because as a meteorologist, when you see this set-up, you know something scary could unfold.
I tip my hat off to every single meteorologist in Oklahoma. To The Storm Prediction Center for all that they did, to The National Weather Service for hitting the message hard and the amazing communication that they sent out via their chat. To the media… all of them. It’s very unfortunate to see what happened in Woodward. Tornadoes were dancing all around that part of the state during the evening. 5 deaths is tough to see. Could the number have been higher had we not put the message out days in advance? It possibly could. We won’t ever really know for sure.
But what we do know is that this system hardly changed from the forecast that was sent out a week in advance. I said it a lot on Friday and this just confirmed it even more. DO NOT PAY ATTENTION TO WHAT TYPE OF RISK YOU ARE IN. A high risk can be just as deadly as a moderate risk or even a slight risk. (May 3rd, 1999 started out as a slight risk) Storms don’t know the difference between the yellow shading on the map, the orange or even the red. And for those of you who say “you busted” or you wanted something bigger with many more tornadoes in the state, may I suggest therapy.