Looks like tonight is going to be a rough one, particularly after midnight. I just saw that the National Weather Service is conducting a conference call for broadcast meteorologists at 4:30 today — there’s a risk of fairly potent thunderstorms tonight, with the possibility of tornadoes. A peek at GRLevel3 does indeed indicate two active tornado warnings in southwest Alabama, and taking a look at the radar image does indicate some fairly intense rotation within these storms, with three — count ’em, three — Tornado Vortex Signatures being reported by NEXRAD. Elsewhere in the line of storms, I see radar indicating velocities of up to 95 knots about 4400 feet from the surface — e-gad!
On a related topic: Ale pointed me to a thread on a Redskins forum that really lays into some meteorologists for getting excited about potentially destructive weather events on air. On the one hand, I can definitely feel what the meteorologists feel — this is their job at its most intense, it’s a real rush. Heck, we all know how I get during hurricane season. But on the other hand, an event that is “exciting” to one meteorologist may be extremely frightening for the 99% of others who aren’t hardcore into the weather. On-air meteorologists have a responsibility to tell the facts of a weather situation. They can convey the gravity of the situation, but should always be careful to keep their inner meterological libido in check, keeping in mind that they’re reporting to a general audience who aren’t all storm spotters ready to go “YEEHAH!” and fire up their personal Dopplers. :)