Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Who Gets Blame for Tardy Sirens?

No one.

As Check with Chip listeners know, I was in Michigan over the weekend. Driving home from the airport Sunday, my wife noted that the tornado sirens sounded after the tornado had struck.

Once home, I opened my e-mail. Jimmy the Fish wanted to know why the weather media, who go berserk at seemingly routine storm systems, snored through the tornado.

As a county commissioner, my first thought was: Was it our fault? The county and the city jointly run the 911 emergency center.

It looks like a 911 operator gets credit for initiating the sirens even though no alert had come from the National Weather Service. After 2 or 3 calls from people saying their roofs were being blown off, 911 activated the civil defense sirens.

So attention shifts to the weather people. Yes, it was 2 a.m. so there was no light, but with Dopplers and Bopplers and Schnopplers and other technological wonder machines, can't they "see" just as well in the dark?

The weather experts say it was not a typical storm cell. The tornadic clouds did not present in a typical way. Then I see in today's paper that the tornado (and a second, weaker one that tracked a bit north of the stronger one) formed from the ground up, apparently making it harder to detect.

Because they are so hyper about these things, I'm willing to take the weather people at their word that this was simply a freakish stealth tornado that eluded our detection system.

That's a comforting thought.

Actually, in my 45 years this is the only time such a phenomenon has occurred, so I won't lose sleep over it. It's a small risk of living in a tornado alley.

And it's a reminder that government can't address everything. Some forces are beyond man's control.

1 comment:

OmaSteak said...

Except for KETV, none of the other local TV or radio stations had any live coverage/warnings until well after the storm(s) had moved into western Iowa. What's been interesting to watch is all the BSing about "why" afterwards and the overbearing weather coverage since then. Hey...s&*(& happens!!! LOL