Experts Review North Texas Weather Warnings

Experts say alerts and warnings saved lives during 2012 tornados

By Mola Lenghi
|  Wednesday, Mar 6, 2013  |  Updated 8:11 PM CDT
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North Texas weather experts heard from first responders about the tornado outbreak on April 3, 2012 to talk about better ways to prepare the public for severe weather.

Mola Lenghi, NBC 5 Arlington Reporter

North Texas weather experts heard from first responders about the tornado outbreak on April 3, 2012 to talk about better ways to prepare the public for severe weather.

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It has been nearly one year since tornados ripped through North Texas, destroying hundreds of homes and buildings.

Weather experts and first responders shared experiences of what did and did not work well during recent storm warnings in the hopes of keeping the public safe.

“April 3rd of last year was the biggest outbreak we've ever seen in North Texas - 17 tornados in our viewing area in just a matter of about three hours,” said NBC 5 Chief Meteorologist David Finfrock while attending the annual Integrated Warning Team conference in Arlington Wednesday.

The event allows weather experts, first responders, emergency managers, school districts and everyone across North Texas impacted by and making decisions during severe weather to review how to best communicate warnings to the public.

The focus of Wednesday’s conference was the April 3rd tornados when communication saved lives through technology and severe weather alerts.

“The warnings were effective and people paid attention to when the tornado warnings turned into tornado emergencies, everyone upgraded their feelings of how dangerous this situation was,” said Finfrock. “We work with a team of people from across the area to keep the public safe.”

They shared their experiences of what worked well and what did not in the hopes that the next time severe weather hits, North Texans will be prepared.

“The great thing about an event like this is that it gives you an opportunity - everybody has a different perspective of what happened in their city," said Irish Hancock with the city of Arlington’s Emergency Management Office. "So, hearing lessons learned - positives and negatives - we can all take that information when we go back to our city.” 

Officials say, considering the lack of casualties and even injuries during the tornados, there were more successes than failures.

“What went right that day? Obviously we had no loss of life - that's a huge success story for us," said Tom Bradshaw, meteorologist with the National Weather Service DFW office. "We want to try to find out, what that just luck or were there some good things we did that we can replicate.” 

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