• Welcome to TalkWeather!
    We see you lurking around TalkWeather! Take the extra step and join us today to view attachments, see less ads and maybe even join the discussion.
    CLICK TO JOIN TALKWEATHER

Severe Weather Threat - Jan 11-12th, 2024

warneagle

Member
Messages
3,689
Reaction score
3,130
Location
Arlington, VA
Special Affiliations
  1. SKYWARN® Volunteer
The county roads are not in such bad shape in Cullman that the buses can't handle them if the wind is blowing 30 mph. That's the type of approach that I am railing on. Magnifying and exaggerating every possible threat into something it isn't.
I don't think that's an entirely fair criticism though, they're at the mercy of the forecasters in determining whether there's a safety issue or not, and the forecasters were saying this had high-end potential a couple of days ago. It's certainly better for them to err on the side of safety in these kinds of situations even if it means some false alarms. I have a dog in this fight, I don't live in Alabama (I don't even have children), but I think they're justified in being safe rather than sorry. It's easy to be a Monday morning QB after the threat doesn't materialize.
 

pritchlaw

Member
Messages
83
Reaction score
96
Location
Warrior, AL
But that is the beauty of hindsight. When the call was made early yesterday afternoon, the forecasts were painting a different picture than what came to be.
As they increasingly do now. That is my point. This happens all....the....time.
 

Forks

Member
Messages
6
Reaction score
13
Location
Gardendale, AL
our society is a lot wimpier than it used to be. these "abundance of caution" people are running the show. while i definitely believe that we should close things down for a substantial threat, the sad truth is that there is a lot of productivity being lost as a result of these decisions to shut down for marginal threats. i work with doctors who often have tough choices to make on days like these. they have to arrange for someone to care for their children on short notice. they are often unsuccessful and have no choice but to stay home. as a result, a we have a hospital that is operating at diminished capacity. add in loss of some of the nurses, administrators, other critical staff and you have a wasted day. people who really needed attention to their health problems get postponed to next week. we care for cancer patients and people who cannot wait another day. heaven forbid, something really did materialize and people actually needed help.

what if a tornado took out a Buffalo Wild Wings loaded with partying teachers and teens who could have been actually doing something today? could you imagine?
 

Blountwolf

Member
Sustaining Member
PerryW Project Supporter
Messages
387
Reaction score
323
Location
Blount Springs

pritchlaw

Member
Messages
83
Reaction score
96
Location
Warrior, AL
I don't think that's an entirely fair criticism though, they're at the mercy of the forecasters in determining whether there's a safety issue or not, and the forecasters were saying this had high-end potential a couple of days ago. It's certainly better for them to err on the side of safety in these kinds of situations even if it means some false alarms. I have a dog in this fight, I don't live in Alabama (I don't even have children), but I think they're justified in being safe rather than sorry. It's easy to be a Monday morning QB after the threat doesn't materialize.
Oh there is no doubt it all starts with the forecasters. I said as much early on in this discussion. The battle for viewers is the root cause of this crap forecasting.
 

pritchlaw

Member
Messages
83
Reaction score
96
Location
Warrior, AL
our society is a lot wimpier than it used to be. these "abundance of caution" people are running the show. while i definitely believe that we should close things down for a substantial threat, the sad truth is that there is a lot of productivity being lost as a result of these decisions to shut down for marginal threats. i work with doctors who often have tough choices to make on days like these. they have to arrange for someone to care for their children on short notice. they are often unsuccessful and have no choice but to stay home. as a result, a we have a hospital that is operating at diminished capacity. add in loss of some of the nurses, administrators, other critical staff and you have a wasted day. people who really needed attention to their health problems get postponed to next week. we care for cancer patients and people who cannot wait another day. heaven forbid, something really did materialize and people actually needed help.

what if a tornado took out a Buffalo Wild Wings loaded with partying teachers and teens who could have been actually doing something today? could you imagine?
This is glorious.
 

pritchlaw

Member
Messages
83
Reaction score
96
Location
Warrior, AL
As far as I know, most school systems teleconference with their local EMA offices and NWS offices, not some TV meteorologist
Ouch. That's not a good look for the EMA's and NWS then.
 

warneagle

Member
Messages
3,689
Reaction score
3,130
Location
Arlington, VA
Special Affiliations
  1. SKYWARN® Volunteer
Oh there is no doubt it all starts with the forecasters. I said as much early on in this discussion. The battle for viewers is the root cause of this crap forecasting.
I don't think the SPC is "battling for viewers". I obviously don't know if the school board in whatever county was checking the SPC Outlooks two days ago, but when the National Weather Service is calling out a threat that far in advance, then there's legitimate cause for concern. They might have been too aggressive with the forecast given the potential pitfalls in terms of the thermodynamics, but it's not like they had an ulterior motive for doing so.
 

wx_guy

Member
Messages
81
Reaction score
200
Location
United States
HAM Callsign
KO4ZGH
Special Affiliations
  1. SKYWARN® Volunteer
  2. ARRL Member
As someone who spent 7 years in the education system as a teacher and where everyone (even the Superintendent) was close with everyone else, I can say that the schools (at least in our area) collaborated with EMS and NWS offices to decide what to do.

I'm in the field of Statistics, and there's much to be said about Type I and Type II errors (you can look it up if you want, I won't bore you with the details). The point is that it's impossible to make a perfect forecast -- some will overperform and injure/kill/destroy way more than forecast, and some will underperform and leave most people safely. As a school administrator, you're tasked with keeping as many people safe as possible (granted, some children live in unsafe places during tornadoes but *that is out of the school's control*), so the decision is essentially this: How do you thread the needle where you minimize the student/teacher/staff injuries/deaths while at the same time maximizing the learning days in the classroom? You can put this another way: How many student/teacher/staff injuries/deaths are *potentially* acceptable in order to make room for more learning days in the classroom? Tornadoes, for instance, have a tiny probability of striking any given school, even on the worst severe weather days...but the possibility, that worst case scenario, is what administrators have to weigh. Looked at from a mathematical/probabilistic point of view, schools should probably never be closed -- but if any life in their hands could be put in danger, most administrators today opt for the safest approach and canceling school. I think this is the most prudent approach. No amount of learning is worth a life, in my view.

Also note that in many places, unless the governor has declared a SoE, schools are required to make up the days by law. So in a lot of places, they aren't "losing" days, just shuffling them around.
 

warneagle

Member
Messages
3,689
Reaction score
3,130
Location
Arlington, VA
Special Affiliations
  1. SKYWARN® Volunteer
Also note that in many places, unless the governor has declared a SoE, schools are required to make up the days by law. So in a lot of places, they aren't "losing" days, just shuffling them around.
Yeah, unless things have changed from when I was a kid, you still have to finish out your 180-day sentence schedule even if there's a weather day.
 

Chris3024

Member
Messages
242
Reaction score
182
Location
Cullman, AL
Yeah, unless things have changed from when I was a kid, you still have to finish out your 180-day sentence schedule even if there's a weather day.
I think it is still the same. From my understanding, this is why many school systems have decided to enact virtual days when they close. School work is being done and turned in for a grade. Thus, completing a required school day.
 

andyhb

Member
Messages
1,015
Reaction score
2,612
Location
Norman, OK
When all of the CAMs are struggling to show any time of stronger/organized convection, that's usually a sign that there just isn't enough buoyancy and/or forcing.

It is also very difficult in winter to get sufficient moisture return after a strong frontal passage 2-3 days prior.
 
Messages
2,667
Reaction score
4,069
Location
Madison, WI
When all of the CAMs are struggling to show any time of stronger/organized convection, that's usually a sign that there just isn't enough buoyancy and/or forcing.

It is also very difficult in winter to get sufficient moisture return after a strong frontal passage 2-3 days prior.

It was interesting, as you and several other mets noted, the trough geometry with today's setup was about as perfect as it gets; and we had a bombing surface low even stronger than Tuesday's. Yet, none of the models, even the GFS/NAM further out, showed the kind of raging southerly LLJ we had on Tuesday morning. It was always somewhat veered and not quite as strong, despite that even more rapidly deepening low. Any thoughts on why that was?

The thermodynamics were always the big question with this setup, though and once the CAMS came into range and consistently weren't uptrending the moisture/instability at all, it became more apparent things weren't breaking the way of a big outbreak.
 

andyhb

Member
Messages
1,015
Reaction score
2,612
Location
Norman, OK
It was interesting, as you and several other mets noted, the trough geometry with today's setup was about as perfect as it gets; and we had a bombing surface low even stronger than Tuesday's. Yet, none of the models, even the GFS/NAM further out, showed the kind of raging southerly LLJ we had on Tuesday morning. It was always somewhat veered and not quite as strong, despite that even more rapidly deepening low. Any thoughts on why that was?

The thermodynamics were always the big question with this setup, though and once the CAMS came into range and consistently weren't uptrending the moisture/instability at all, it became more apparent things weren't breaking the way of a big outbreak.
The LLJ doesn't really have much to do with this IMO. It's 55-70 kts out of the SSW, which is more than plenty for a big severe day down here (actually would probably favor it over the due south LLJ given moisture trajectories in the SE). Additionally, the low level response here was always further north and the trough is lifting away with time, which limits forcing for ascent. The thermos just aren't there due to the cold front earlier this week and combining that with decreased large scale ascent is a death knell for stronger convection.

Put 1500-2000 J/kg CAPE over this warm sector and you're talking a potential high risk event. I should say the timing is also a bit off, the most favorable period of the trough's evolution was 2-6 hours ago. This might not matter much though if the temperatures and dewpoints were 10 degrees higher.
 
Logo 468x120
Back
Top