New System Tests Stronger Language In Weather Warnings - - Oklahoma City, OK - News, Weather, Video and Sports |

New Severe Warning System Tests Stronger Language In Weather Warnings

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(File photo) (File photo)

The National Weather Service is testing a pilot severe weather warning system that could be implemented in Oklahoma and across the country.

The system is being tested in Kansas, Missouri and parts of Illinois.

The goal of the new system is to grab more of the public's attention during severe weather events, and push people to act when they're in the path of danger. An extensive survey showed during general weather warnings, only a minority of people took appropriate action.

The new system would use stronger, more forceful language to explain the severity of the storm using phrases such as "mass devastation" and "un-survivable."

"They are actually beefing up the messages, so to speak, so they can give more urgent information in a shorter amount of time and hopefully be able to cause the public to take them more seriously," Oklahoma County Emergency Manager David Barnes said.

News 9 Chief Meteorologist Gary England says the proposed, stronger warnings could have the opposite effect because three-quarters of tornado warnings are false.

"To use phrases like ‘catastrophic' and ‘wiping entire neighborhood off the face of the earth' – which they're going to test – those are strong statements," said Gary. "You really can't make statements like that until the tornado has evolved or until you have all the pieces of the puzzle."

Those pieces of the puzzle include radar, other computer technology, aerials and storm chasers on the ground who get vital information about where the storm is heading.

England and Barnes agreed, the best thing you can do is stay informed. When you hear of a tornado warning in your area, it's time to seek shelter and listen to what the experts say.


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