MWN Lightning Round: On the end of winter, weather marketing, and tornado bans

Winter over? Not so fast…

I’ve seen and heard lots of complaints about the “return” to winter today in the wake of yesterday’s cold front, especially with spring break in the rearview mirror and the latter half of March out the front window (and my #NoMoreWinter campaign notwithstanding). With cloudy skies and a breezy north wind, temperatures struggled into the upper 40s, or about 15 degrees below average, across the metro today.  High pressure moves to our east tonight, allowing wind to switch from the south. Temperatures will respond accordingly tomorrow with highs in the 60s. In fact, the 60s, and even 70s, will continue through the week.

However, if we look out a bit further, the Climate Prediction Center has issued a “high confidence” outlook of below normal temperatures for next week (shown below).  For the period of March 23-27, we have a 70% probability of below normal temperatures, meaning there is also almost no chance of above normal temperatures and about a 30% chance of near normal temperatures. Also, not shown, there is nearly a 60% chance of below normal temperatures for the period March 25-31. So, is winter over?  Probably.  But is the colder than normal weather over with this week’s 70s in the forecast? Likely not.  And that leads us to the next vignette…

Don’t shoot the messenger

I’ve been known to say “I’m in Sales, not Production” when darts start flying over less-than-ideal weather conditions. Another way of saying that was shared with me today by a fellow meteorologist and friend Kevin Selle, who posted the following in a Digital Meteorologist blog post today:

Thanks for the awesome graphic, and message, that describes our job so succinctly, Kevin!

Tornado Ban

Did you know that tornado watches and warnings used to disallowed?  It’s true!  While I knew of this from other literature I had seen, I didn’t know that today is the anniversary of the date when the tornado forecast ban was lifted.  From Weather Underground:

Did you know that a ban on the word “tornado” was lifted on this date in 1952 after nearly 66 years? The ban was started by the Army in 1886 (the Army handled forecasting at that time), when it was determined that the harm done by predicting a tornado would be greater than that done by the tornado itself (emphasis added). On this date in 1952, the new Severe Local Storm Warning Center issued its first “tornado watch”.

Can you believe that?  The Army felt like predicting a tornado would cause more harm than the tornado itself!  What a long ways we have come in the past century!  (Another hat tip, this time to Olive Branch’s own WeatherMayor Sam Rikard, for passing this info on.)

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