Weather psychology 101

I offered a mantra at the National Weather Service of a mission to tell people what we know when we know it. The sooner the better. There was a natural tendency to always wait for more confirming information. But if we had some knowledge of changing weather to share, we should promptly share it.

In the case of last weeks tornadoes, I was struck by the news stories of word of mouth warning of the approaching storms. Rural area residents were tuned into weather, already aware that storms had pounded parts of eastern North Dakota. It was old fashion communication of information of impending severe weather.

Advance warning from the National Weather Service allowed sufficient time for others to pass along the breaking weather alerts. In some cases, individuals raced to inform faimly and friends that a tornado was headed their way. Not surprisingly, I heard similar stories when I was a member on the NWS service assessment team of the 1999 Oklahoma City tornadoes.

While I didn’t see many comments on warning sirens and NOAA Weather Radio, I know they were a part of the process as well as the broadcast media staying on top of developing weather.

I’m a believer that neighbor knowing neighbor and watching out for each other enhances the warning program. Sometimes I wonder how the warning process might be just slightly different in urban and suburbia regions, both at home and office.

On the day of the summer solistice we will experience warm and humid conditions. Some areas will get heavy downpours. A Flash Flood Watch is in effect through Tuesday for northwest Minnesota and eastern North Dakota. There should be a break in the thunderstorms and humidity at mid week.

The six to ten day temperature outlook indicates very warm weather continuing through the rest of June.


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