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Severe WX April 11-14th, 2022 Severe Weather Threat (4 Viewers)

Taylor Campbell

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Hail shafts, scud bombs, and inflow tails are not a tornado.
 
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buckeye05

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While spotters making bogus reports is big part of why this went off the rails, part of the blame falls on NWS Little Rock. Given the lack of strong circulation and CC drop, combined with other evidence that suggested that the reports were highly questionable, NWS Little Rock clearly failed at verifying that there was conclusively a violent tornado on the ground before pulling a trigger on the tornado emergency. That is extremely irresponsible. I could tell something wasn't adding up as soon as I saw the velocity imagery of the storm. If I was able to notice that, there's no excuse for a degreed NWS met not being able to.

NWS Little Rock definitely needs to review their warning procedures after this and the other recent one near Mayflower.
 

MNTornadoGuy

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While spotters making bogus reports is big part of why this went off the rails, part of the blame falls on NWS Little Rock. Given the lack of strong circulation and CC drop, combined with other evidence that suggested that the reports were highly questionable, NWS Little Rock clearly failed at verifying that there was conclusively a violent tornado on the ground before pulling a trigger on the tornado emergency. That is extremely irresponsible. I could tell something wasn't adding up as soon as I saw the velocity imagery of the storm. If I was able to notice that, there's no excuse for a degreed NWS met not being able to.

NWS Little Rock definitely needs to review their warning procedures after this and the other recent one near Mayflower.
Some photos have been posted of the supposed “tornado” and show what actually is just a bunch of scud.
 
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While spotters making bogus reports is big part of why this went off the rails, part of the blame falls on NWS Little Rock. Given the lack of strong circulation and CC drop, combined with other evidence that suggested that the reports were highly questionable, NWS Little Rock clearly failed at verifying that there was conclusively a violent tornado on the ground before pulling a trigger on the tornado emergency. That is extremely irresponsible. I could tell something wasn't adding up as soon as I saw the velocity imagery of the storm. If I was able to notice that, there's no excuse for a degreed NWS met not being able to.

NWS Little Rock definitely needs to review their warning procedures after this and the other recent one near Mayflower.
There was a person on Twitter also saying multiple fatalities and injuries had been confirmed in Walnut Ridge and extensive damage had also been reported.
 

Equus

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To be fair to the forecasters, there was certainly a mesocyclone present at the lowest beam height available (which was like 9kft at the start) and the storm's deviant right motion along the warm front enhanced the hodograph enough that a significant tornado was plausible if rooted in the reasonably warm/moist boundary layer just to the south of the WF, and in the extremely tense highly time-sensitive business of issuing tornado warnings when literal seconds could mean lives, going all out on a PDS warning when reports started coming in AND the near storm environment seemed plausible to support it despite the marginal radar signatures at ~9kft. However going all in immediately on a TORE based on spotter reports for the second time in a week does seem to be a problem.

That said, at the time the cell was active, I didn't at all think a potential failure mode was "literally all NINE significant tornado reports were bogus" - have seen significant tornadoes recently (DDC's infamous "no" EF2, Shallotte NC EF3) in environments where mesoscale analysis suggested cold side of the boundary where surface based supercells were unlikely but on the storm scale was rooted just enough to draw surface based inflow and put down a brief strong tornado before becoming elevated and figured this might be the case as well riding the warm front. Looking back, the signature despite the height clearly showed an outflow dominant elevated supercell, with rather high LCLs to boot, but when you've got consistent reports from NW to SE of a large wedge tornado doing significant damage and the environment could plausibly support it, and the radar's too high up to know for absolute certain, what do you do? It's an all around frustrating situation where nobody wins.

To me it speaks of two issues that need addressed...

1 - Storm spotters are absolutely essential and important but when we have a bad actor putting out fake reports to the degree of causing both a TOR-E and a fairly high probability tornado watch, something needs to be done to address those spotters whose reports are not accurate; very hard to do in the heat of the moment, but perhaps an internal list of names who have been associated with bad reports that can be referred to quickly? Maybe also switch up spotter training to cover more erroneous features since iirc we had law enforcement tricked by this storm too.

2 - The standards for issuing a tornado emergency may need to be touched upon; many offices use them as they are intended, others are reluctant to go above a PDS warning no matter how dangerous the situation, and a few others are rather more loose with the criteria of issuance; we certainly don't need three 1080p videos of a mile wide tornado lofting houses in a suburb to confirm the need for a TORE but pulling the trigger just after a couple of oddly worded spotter reports whose GPS coordinates were ahead of the storm in question and the radar presentation being fairly iffy seems too fast. Yeah that's easy to say after the fact, but perhaps maintain a PDS warning until either a debris sig is obvious at beam height if the only reports are from spotters of unknown veracity or there's some other form of confirmation so that the decision doesn't hinge on potentially erroneous reports?

Tl;dr, I can't fault forecasters trying to do their job the best they can to save lives given the info they have but if false reports are entering the equation there should probably be some way to quality filter that information if it's the only ground truth there is to go by. If this happened within good close range coverage of a radar it would've been pretty obvious something was wrong but with a scan nearly two miles up to go by, it's a difficult decision...

I hate that it has to come to questioning storm spotters, but seeing how insane some enthusiasts are on social media it's probably time to filter out some of the questionable ones... hopefully something positive will come out of it.
 

Equus

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In other news, JAN confirms a nearly 50 mile long (and almost mile wide) high end EF2 from Wednesday; we got a "strong long tracked tornado" but somehow it occurred on the leading edge of a QLCS instead of a supercell. Hard to imagine a QLCS tornado lasting that long

(Edit: 120 instead of 130 so not 'high end' but still strong)

Screenshot_20220417-030303-921.png
 
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