The Christian Science Monitor has a good story today (April 14, 2012) about the National Weather Service’s ongoing tests of phrases like ‘catastrophic’ and ‘unsurvivable’ to describe storm systems that might be headed toward the homes and businesses of Americans.
For example, the storm system threatening the U.S. Great Plains today is being called ‘high-end’ and ‘life-threatening’ by the NWS. According to the Christian Science Monitor, the shift to stronger wording came on the heels of the devastating tornadoes in Alabama in 2011 and the early, violent start to this year’s tornado season. They want to know if a more active, urgent voice will better communicate storm warnings and cause Americans to take heed.
Many Americans ignore tornado warnings. Will the new stronger language make a positive difference and help save lives? What do you think?
Bottom line: The U.S. National Weather Service is trying out a new, more urgent voice in tornado warnings, in hopes it will cause the American public to heed the warnings. The storm system threatening the U.S. Great Plains on April 14, 2012 is being called ‘high-end’ and ‘life-threatening’ by the NWS.
Deborah Byrd created the EarthSky radio series in 1991 and EarthSky.org in 1994. Today, she serves as Editor-in-Chief of this website. She has won a galaxy of awards from the broadcasting and science communities, including having an asteroid named 3505 Byrd in her honor. A science communicator and educator since 1976, Byrd believes in science as a force for good in the world and a vital tool for the 21st century. "Being an EarthSky editor is like hosting a big global party for cool nature-lovers," she says.