Weather Service To Implement New Tornado Warning System - NewsOn6.com - Tulsa, OK - News, Weather, Video and Sports - KOTV.com |

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Weather Service To Implement New Tornado Warning System

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Soon you'll hear words like "mass devastation," "un-survivable" and "catastrophic." Soon you'll hear words like "mass devastation," "un-survivable" and "catastrophic."
No matter what warnings are used, people will still have to take responsibility for acting on them, Dick Faurot notes. No matter what warnings are used, people will still have to take responsibility for acting on them, Dick Faurot notes.
TULSA, Oklahoma -

Weather experts are looking for new ways to warn the public when a tornado is near.

We're all guilty of it, just hearing that there's a tornado warning, unless we actually see the clouds forming outside, we don't always seek shelter.

So starting Monday, five weather service offices in Kansas and Missouri will test a new type of tornado warning system. It will be based on the severity of a storm's expected impact. It won't affect the sirens you hear, but what kinds of words meteorologists use when talking about the approaching storm. Soon you'll hear words like "mass devastation", "un-survivable" and "catastrophic."

"When we get to these very high end phrases, that's an indication that the threat is legitimate and that's a large and violent tornado, and you really need to be in some area that's more than a refuge," said Steve Piltz, National Weather Service.

Steve Piltz is a meteorologist for the National Weather Service in Tulsa.

Although he thinks this new wording concept is a start, he feels the key to really alerting people begins with science.

"If we get a better understanding on how tornadoes form, then we can communicate with more confidence and not have to try to reinvent phrases every so many years to make sure the public stays in tune," Piltz said.

News on 6 Meteorologist Dick Faurot says words can only do so much.

"It doesn't matter what you say or how you say it. People still have to take the individual responsibility to act on the information they're given," Faurot said.

"It's best to be in a basement underneath something," Piltz said. "Safe rooms are good. Storm cellars are good."

This testing by our neighbors in Missouri and Kansas will run through late fall. After that, the weather service will decide if they want to expand the new warnings to other parts of the country.

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