Monthly Archives: June, 2010

Who Are They Kidding?

A batch of supercells with the occasional tornado moved across northeastern CO this evening. On some of the warnings, mention was made of motorists that could be in the path of a possible tornado. The following is from the Denver (Boulder) NWS. And I quote…

MOTORISTS SHOULD NOT TAKE SHELTER UNDER HIGHWAY OVERPASSES. AS A LAST
RESORT…EITHER PARK YOUR VEHICLE AND STAY PUT…OR ABANDON YOUR
VEHICLE AND LIE DOWN IN A LOW LYING AREA.

Who are they kidding? PARK YOUR VEHICLE AND STAY PUT??? Give me a break people. Surely the folks staffing that office are experienced enough with tornadic supercells to realize that a motorist sitting on the side of a highway or interstate with said supercell approaching is a sitting duck. I can’t believe they’d really put something like that out. Who knows how many motorist heard that and now believe that “parking and staying put” is the safest thing as opposed to a) turning around and going the opposite direction, or b) finding substantial shelter (truck stop, convenience store, fast food joint, etc.) that are often along interstates and highways. Staying put in a stationary vehicle has gotten people killed before. One of the three fatalities that occurred during the May 3, 1999 Oklahoma tornado outbreak resulted from a motorist sitting in a car, i.e. staying put, on I-35 west of Stillwater. The fact that a large tornado was present is irrelevant. What is relevant is someone needlessly died because they thought pulling over to the side of the road and “riding it out” was the safest thing to do.

Here’s the entire warning in all it’s glory:

263
WFUS55 KBOU 120043
TORBOU
COC087-121-120115-
/O.NEW.KBOU.TO.W.0057.100612T0043Z-100612T0115Z/

BULLETIN – EAS ACTIVATION REQUESTED
TORNADO WARNING
NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE DENVER CO
643 PM MDT FRI JUN 11 2010

THE NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE IN DENVER HAS ISSUED A

* TORNADO WARNING FOR…
NORTH CENTRAL WASHINGTON COUNTY IN NORTHEAST COLORADO
EASTERN MORGAN COUNTY IN NORTHEAST COLORADO

* UNTIL 715 PM MDT

* AT 641 PM MDT…NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE DOPPLER RADAR INDICATED A
SEVERE THUNDERSTORM CAPABLE OF PRODUCING A TORNADO 6 MILES NORTH OF
GARY…OR 14 MILES SOUTHEAST OF FORT MORGAN. THIS STORM WAS MOVING
EAST AT 20 MPH. THIS TORNADO WARNING REPLACES THE WARNING THAT WAS
IN EFFECT FOR MORGAN AND WASHINGTON COUNTIES UNTIL 645 PM MDT.

* LOCATIONS IN THE WARNING INCLUDE BUT ARE NOT LIMITED TO SNYDER…
MIDWAY…HILLROSE…GARY…BRUSH AND AKRON.

PRECAUTIONARY/PREPAREDNESS ACTIONS…

MOTORISTS SHOULD NOT TAKE SHELTER UNDER HIGHWAY OVERPASSES. AS A LAST
RESORT…EITHER PARK YOUR VEHICLE AND STAY PUT…OR ABANDON YOUR
VEHICLE AND LIE DOWN IN A LOW LYING AREA.

HEAVY RAINFALL ALSO HAS THE POTENTIAL TO PRODUCE FLOODING ON
ROADWAYS. THE STORM HAS A HISTORY OF PRODUCING VERY LARGE HAIL.

IN ADDITION TO THE TORNADO…THIS STORM IS CAPABLE OF PRODUCING LARGE
DAMAGING HAIL AND DESTRUCTIVE STRAIGHT LINE WINDS.

LAT…LON 4042 10318 4000 10316 4004 10370 4041 10368
TIME…MOT…LOC 0041Z 254DEG 19KT 4016 10356

I’ll at least give them credit for mentioning the option of finding a low place for shelter. This wasn’t the only warning from the Denver NWS with this wording for motorists. There were numerous warnings with the same wording. In summary, this is very bad judgment. I’d like to think someone with clout will make mention of this…because it can’t happen again.

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