WASHINGTON — You know the bad weather is coming. The skies get dark, the winds whip around and the rain falls so heavy that you can hardly see anything. Then, the ultimate warning: Your phone and TV alert you that there is a possible tornado in your area. What do you do? The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) wants to hear about it.
NOAA is asking people to fill out an online survey to share how they react to tornadoes and tornado alerts. Tornado Tales is a new NOAA research project that allows people to anonymously report their tornado experiences. Here are some of the multiple choice questions from the survey:
1) When did you experience the event?
2) How safe did you feel in the structure that you were in?
3) Did you receive a tornado warning?
4) Did you receive a tornado watch?
There is also a section which allows people to write in what they experienced. NOAA scientists say they have a lot of technical advances to track storms, but they are missing personal stories of survival and action.
“While NOAA collects a lot of physical science data about storms from satellites and radars, the weather community has much less information about what people actually do when tornadoes strike,” said project coordinator Justin Sharpe, research scientist with the Cooperative Institute for Severe and High-Impact Weather Research and Operations (CIWRO) working at the NOAA NSSL.
“We created this citizen science tool so that people can come to us and share their stories. This information will help us improve weather communication used to keep people safe,” Sharpe said in a statement.
Tornado Tales was developed by researchers at the NOAA National Severe Storms Laboratory (NSSL). The tool will be used to better understand how people receive, interpret and respond to tornado information from NOAA.
"Understanding people’s experiences gives scientists a much better picture of where research is needed, whether its research to improve safety messages or to assess the need for local changes, such as developing reasonable shelter options," Sharpe added.
To share your story with Tornado Tales click here.
A tornado watch means that are tornadoes are possible. A tornado warning means that a tornado is happening or will happen soon.
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