The News Courier in Athens, Alabama

State and Nation

February 16, 2013

NWS: New tool confirmed Hattiesburg tornado

— FLOWOOD, Miss. (AP) — New technology allowed regional forecasters to quickly confirm the large tornado that tore through Hattiesburg this week and to alert the public, possibly saving lives in the process, officials said in a news conference Friday.

The Dual-polarization Doppler technology allowed forecasters to see the shape and size of debris inside the tornado. In the past, forecasters have generally relied on visual reports of tornadoes, which are difficult to get at night. The new technology allowed them to issue warnings confirming the tornado and to give residents sufficient time to get to safety.

Dozens of injuries were reported as a result of the tornados that struck south Mississippi Feb. 10, but no fatalities.

Mississippi Emergency Management Agency Director Robert Latham said he believed the Dual-polarization technology was to thank for the lack of deaths.

"There is no other logical explanation as to why we didn't have fatalities in that area," Latham said.

U.S. Sen. Roger Wicker, R-Miss., spoke at a news conference Friday announcing the new Doppler system. He said the conference had been organized before the tornados.

"This represents government at its best: professionals, scientists who are on the front line, getting information to us in the best way possible and the quickest way possible to protect property and save lives," Wicker said.

Wicker said he has relatives in Hattiesburg, and that they were able to get to a secure area of their house thanks to an early warning.

Alan Gerard, meteorologist at the National Weather Service office in Flowood, said that while forecasters could see heavy winds and rain with the old Doppler technology, they couldn't tell if those storms amounted to tornados touching down on the ground. Storm chasers were often the best sources of confirmation. The new Dual-polarization technology allows forecasters to see the debris inside of the tornado, confirming that it's touching ground and picking up objects as it plows through an area.

National Weather Service offices throughout the country are being updated with the new technology.

1
Text Only
State and Nation
Photos


Poll

Do you believe America will ever make another manned flight to the moon or another planet?

Yes
No
     View Results
Facebook
AP Video
Official: Air Algerie Flight 'probably Crashed' TSA Administrator on Politics and Flight Bans Raw: National Guard Helps Battle WA Wildfires Raw: Ukraine's Donetsk Residents Flee Senators Push to End Hamas Threat in Cease-Fire A Young Victim's Premonition, Hug Before MH17 U.N. School in Gaza Hit by Israeli Strike Raw: Deadly Storm Hits Virginia Campground Officials Warn of Avoidable Death in Hot Cars Death Penalty Expert: 'This is a Turning Point' House Committee at Odds Over Obama Lawsuit Raw: MH17 Victim's Bodies Arrive in Netherlands Raw: UN School Used As Shelter Hit by Tank Shell Raw: Gunmen Attack Iraqi Prison Convoy Plane Leaves Ukraine With More Crash Victims The Rock Brings Star Power to Premiere Raw: Families Travel to Taiwan Plane Crash Site Arizona Execution Takes Almost Two Hours Crash Kills Teen Pilot Seeking World Record
Twitter Updates
Hyperlocal Search
Premier Guide
Find a business

Walking Fingers
Maps, Menus, Store hours, Coupons, and more...
Premier Guide
Stocks
Parade
Magazine

Click HERE to read all your Parade favorites including Hollywood Wire, Celebrity interviews and photo galleries, Food recipes and cooking tips, Games and lots more.
Business Marquee