Oklahoma Weather Blog


Tornado and severe thunderstorm warnings will change during experiment, according to NWS-Norman

by Bryan Painter Modified: January 15, 2014 at 10:05 am •  Published: January 15, 2014

From Rick Smith, warning coordination meteorologist, National Weather Service, Norman Forecast Office:

” Beginning around March 4th, WFO Norman will participate in the Impact Based Warnings (IBW) experiment. As you may know, the IBW project started two years ago at a handful of central region offices, and last year expanded to all of the NWS central region.

“The format of our tornado and severe thunderstorm warnings will change and will include additional information about the expected impacts of the storms.You can find more details on the experiment at this link. Please note: some of the materials on this page are a little dated, and do not reflect the fact that we are participating. But it should give you a sense of what it’s all about.
“One thing that will not change will be our tornado warning philosophy. You should not expect to see more tornado warnings because of our involvement in this experiment.
“We’ll be providing additional information as we get a little closer. “
What Is This Experiment About? 




An experimental National Weather Service warning enhancement will be used across much of the central U.S. this thunderstorm season (beginning April 1).  This is an expansion of a smaller NWS experiment that began in Kansas and Missouri in 2012.   

The Impact Based Warning (IBW) experimental product is an effort to better communicate severe weather threats within National Weather Service warnings.  While the basic function of Severe Thunderstorm and Tornado warnings will remain the same, additional enhanced information will be provided within the warning to provide additional expected “impact” information.

The goals are to provide more information through the warnings in order to facilitate improved public response and decision making, and to better meet societal needs in the most life-threatening weather events.  This effort is in response to key findings from recent service assessments of devastating tornadoes in 2011, particularly the EF-5 tornado in Joplin, MO. 


by Bryan Painter
Assistant Local Editor
Bryan Painter, assistant local editor, has 31 years’ experience in journalism, including 22 years with the state's largest newspaper, The Oklahoman. In that time he has covered such events as the April 19, 1995 bombing of the Alfred P. Murrah...
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