As we continue to discuss our research project concerning 2014-2020 National Weather Service Offices’ Tornado Warning Accuracy, we now come to the blog entry that begins to look at any correlations between Tornado Warning Verification/False Alarms and Tornado Fatalities. I want to preface this entry by saying that The Guardian Canary is in no way implying that low Tornado Warning Verification Rates and high issuances of false alarms are the sole reasons for people perishing at the hands of tornadoes. There are a multitude of reasons, sequences of events, and human choices that lead to tornado fatalities. Sometimes, everything can be done correctly from warning issuance, to receiving the warning, to taking proper action, that still results in a person losing their life simply due to the strength and destructive nature of the tornado. But my fellow meteorologists, how long can we continue to tolerate such horrible accuracy in Tornado Warnings and think that this isn’t playing a role in the public’s psyche? We chose not to survey or poll people for our study. Polling people in this day and age seems to be quite flawed, so we chose to look at where tornado fatalities have occurred from 2014-2020, in what NWS Office’s County Warning Area (CWA) those deaths occurred, and what their Tornado Warning Verification Rates were and how many false alarms they issued during the given time period. The following table shows the 15 NWS Offices that had the most tornado fatalities occur in their CWA from 2014-2020, their Tornado Warning Verification Rate, their rank in the NWS in regards to Most False Alarms Issued, and the number of years in our study that contained at least one tornado fatality for their area. As a reminder, only NWS Offices that averaged issuing 10 Tornado Warnings per year from 2014-2020 are included in our lists. There are 72 NWS Offices that met that criteria. Also, the overall NWS Tornado Warning Verification Rate from 2014-2020 was 25.59%.

Most Tornado Fatalities by NWS Office and Tornado Warning Accuracy Comparison, 2014-2020
Most Tornado Fatalities by NWS Office and Tornado Warning Accuracy Comparison, 2014-2020

A Couple of Preliminary Notes

*10 NWS Offices that rank in the Top 15 of Tornado Fatalities also rank in the Top 15 of Most False Alarms Issued

*9 NWS Offices that rank in the Top 15 of Tornado Fatalities also have a Verification Rate below the overall NWS Average for the time period

*6 NWS Offices fall into both of the aforementioned groups, including all 3 NWS Offices in Louisiana

All 2014-2020 NWS Tornado Verification Statistics were compiled through the use of the Storm Prediction Center’s Severe Weather Event Summaries and Iowa State’s IEM COW (NWS Storm Based Verification) webpages. To view our other lists, check out our blog entry “The Good and The Bad”. We hope to present all of our findings at various conferences throughout 2021 and 2022.