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Forecasting Tornados

Who forecasts tornadoes? Anyone can forecast a tornado, they just have to know how. The National Weather Service is the only company that issues Tornado Warnings. The Storm Prediction Center is the only company that issues watches.

How do you forecast tornadoes? When predicting severe weather including tornadoes a day or two in advance, we look for the development of temperature and wind flow patterns in the atmosphere which can cause enough moisture, instability, updraft, and wind shear for tornadic severe thunderstorms.

What hardware and software tools do you use to help you forecast tornadoes? The most important hardware for forecasting is the human brain. Forecasters use high-performance computer workstations, with a huge variety of software to display the things we need to help us forecast severe weather. The variety of those things is enormous: Many kinds of computer model displays , satellite image loops, radar displays , wind profiler and radar-wind plots , information from surface weather stations , upper air information from balloons and planes, lightning strike data, weather data tables, and more. By far, the most important software is the human brain. A forecaster must use it to sort all that information, properly organize what is needed, and put it into a data form all on a deadline.


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