BIRMINGHAM, Alabama -- In the wake of the April 27 tornadoes, veteran television meteorologist James Spann is questioning whether too frequent tornado warnings are causing people to ignore them.
Doppler Radar is an amazing thing. It has the ability to pick up rotation in storm clouds that might lead to the formation of one of Mother Nature's most deadly phenomena, the tornado.
Currently when Doppler senses rotation, a tornado warning is issued for the counties in the storm's path, and tornado sirens warn the public. This spring we've heard the sirens several times, but no tornadoes have touched down in our county. The problem is this: our warning system cries wolf again and again, and human nature is such that we become complacent... We hear the siren, we play the odds, we turn over in bed, and place our pillow over our ears.
I suggest this:
1) When a warning is issued, the sirens blare for two minutes, non-stop... Then they blare for 15 seconds every 10 minutes until the danger is past.
2) If an actual tornado is spotted, the sirens blare non-stop.
I know... It's not a perfect plan. But it might be more effective than what we have now.