What is a Tornado Emergency?

Living here in Oklahoma, we all have heard of the word TORNADO WARNING. But, what about a TORNADO EMERGENCY? Would you know the difference? A TORNADO WARNING is certainly very high up there, but the phrase TORNADO EMERGENCY is even worse. A tornado warning simply means that there could be a tornado any moment now or that there is indeed a tornado out there. A TORNADO EMERGENCY means that there is indeed a tornado on the ground, likely a large one, and that it is moving into an densely populated area with the likelihood that it could produce fatalities and widespread damage. This “emergency” was actually born right here in Oklahoma during the May 3rd outbreak when meteorologists at The National Weather Service in Norman felt that a warning could not justify the importance of their message. So, they sent out an “EMERGENCY” to raise the awareness level. This is how it looked..

...TORNADO EMERGENCY IN SOUTH OKLAHOMA CITY METRO AREA... At 6:57 PM CDT...A LARGE TORNADO WAS MOVING ALONG INTERSTATE 44 WEST OF NEWCASTLE. ON ITS PRESENT PATH...THIS LARGE DAMAGING TORNADO WILL ENTER SOUTHWEST SECTIONS OF THE OKLAHOMA CITY METRO AREA BETWEEN 7:15 AND 7:30 PM. PERSONS IN MOORE AND SOUTH OKLAHOMA CITY SHOULD TAKE IMMEDIATE TORNADO PRECAUTIONS! THIS IS AN EXTREMELY DANGEROUS AND LIFE THREATENING SITUATION. IF YOU ARE IN THE PATH OF THIS LARGE AND DESTRUCTIVE TORNADO...TAKE COVER IMMEDIATELY. DOPPLER RADAR HAS INDICATED THIS STORM MAY CONTAIN DESTRUCTIVE HAIL TO THE SIZE OF BASEBALLS...OR LARGER.

For the last 11 years, there was no set criteria on when an “EMERGENCY” was to be issued with a warning. It was at the discretion of the weather service and whether or not to issue one. At the same time, they wanted to be careful when issuing said emergencies because if it is issued too often, then it may lose the importance of it’s meaning. During The Greensburg tornado, a TORNADO EMERGENCY was issued then and read as follows..

SEVERE WEATHER STATEMENT
NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE DODGE CITY KS
941 PM CDT FRI MAY 4 2007

 

 

…A TORNADO EMERGENCY FOR GREENSBURG….

AT 937 PM CDT…NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE METEOROLOGISTS AND STORM
SPOTTERS WERE TRACKING A LARGE AND EXTREMELY DANGEROUS TORNADO. THIS
TORNADO WAS LOCATED 5 MILES SOUTH OF GREENSBURG…MOVING NORTH AT 20
MPH.

A VIOLENT TORNADO WAS ON A DIRECT PATH FOR PORTIONS OF GREENSBURG…
ESPECIALLY THE EASTERN PORTIONS OF TOWN. TAKE IMMEDIATE TORNADO
PRECATIONS…THIS IS AN EMERGENCY SITUATION FOR GREENSBURG!!

A TORNADO WATCH REMAINS IN EFFECT UNTIL 200 AM CDT SATURDAY MORNING
FOR SOUTHWESTERN KANSAS

And then about 2 weeks ago… we saw it again. The phrase “TORNADO EMERGENCY” was posted as storms raced towards Yazoo City. It read as follows.

..A TORNADO WARNING REMAINS IN EFFECT UNTIL 1230 PM CDT FOR CENTRAL YAZOO COUNTY… …THIS IS A TORNADO EMERGENCY FOR THE WARNED AREA… AT 1203 PM CDT…NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE METEOROLOGISTS AND STORM SPOTTERS WERE TRACKING A LARGE AND EXTREMELY DANGEROUS WEDGE TORNADO. THIS TORNADO WAS LOCATED 6 MILES NORTH OF SATARTIA MOVING NORTHEAST AT 60 MPH. THE TORNADO WILL BE NEAR… YAZOO CITY AND LITTLE YAZOO BY 1210 PM CDT… MYRLEVILLE BY 1215 PM CDT… BENTON AND EDEN BY 1220 PM CDT… MIDWAY BY 1225 PM CDT… PRECAUTIONARY/PREPAREDNESS ACTIONS… A TORNADO WARNING MEANS THAT A TORNADO IS OCCURRING OR IMMINENT. YOU SHOULD ACTIVATE YOUR TORNADO ACTION PLAN AND TAKE PROTECTIVE ACTION NOW. SIGNIFICANT DAMAGE HAS OCCURRED WITH THIS SIGNIFICANT TORNADO! THIS IS AN EXTREMELY DANGEROUS AND SERIOUS LIFE THREATENING SITUATION. THIS STORM IS CAPABLE OF PRODUCING STRONG TO VIOLENT TORNADOES. IF YOU ARE IN THE PATH OF THIS TORNADO…TAKE COVER IMMEDIATELY!

You don’t see these phrases used often and to be honest,

everytime I do, it puts a big knot in my stomach. But, it serves a

valuable purpose . Sometimes all it takes is adding a word or two to make you aware. -Damon

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2 Responses

  1. great artical.thanks for sharing it….see ya MADSHARK

  2. WOW!!!!I was right,i was waching storm chasers,but i didnt cath the city,time,or day it was.

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