A blog about weather, climate, and science. Occasionally, we'll post on other topics of interest.
I read the article on my iPhone earlier and went to the 'Weather or Not' homepage just out of curiosity, to see if they had any comment on the matter (since their clock was pretty well cleaned in the newspaper article). On their news page at the time they had a release stating that they had given 34 minutes warning with 2 follow-ups and that they had no further comment as the situation was 'under investigation'.My intention was to post a link to that news blurb when I arrived home. Upon going back to the news page on their site a moment ago, the press release is now gone.Interpret that however you may, I suppose...This was the first time I've heard of an airport contracting with a private weather firm for service. Is that common practice? With the FAA, state and federal governments closely tied to airports, isn't that kind of a slap in the face to the National Weather Service that a major airport has to contract out for 'better' warning service?
I write about this in "Warnings" in some detail and am highly critical of the FAA's stance with regard to tornado warnings. I'm going to do a second posting on this matter shortly.
The story on the Washington Post actually was updated this evening in regards to the details of Lambert and their private consulting company 'Weather or Not'. It seems as if someone (journalist or Lambert PR guy) made a mistake as the whole context was changed to indicate that Lambert did receive the warnings in time and that they had been in contact with the 'Weather or Not' company throughout the evening.
I saw the update. Actually, if you read it closely, they were not in contact "throughout the evening" but rather during the roughly half hour from when the NWS issued the tornado warning to when the tornado arrived. Airports (like any other business) have always been free to contract with commercial weather companies like AccuWeather (full disclosure, I'm an executive there) to protect their employees and customers. If you'll read my book "Warnings" or look at the posting above this you'll see my complaint is with the FAA and airlines with regard to tornado warnings. There is virtually zero protection for passengers and airline crews at present. We got lucky at Daytona Beach and Lambert, We might not get lucky next time! Things need to change.