I would like to suggest they missed the biggest story. If I were the headline writer, this is what I would have written:
Tornadoes Strike Metroplex
No Deaths, Few Injuries Thanks to Modern MeteorologyInstead, this is was on the Dallas Morning News' web site:
This morning, Mayor Mike Rawlings and City Manager Mary Suhm provided a brief update on yesterday's tornadoes.
There was substantial property damage in southeast Dallas. But at City Hall, as in the rest of the city, the main feeling was that of relief that the storms weren't as catastrophic as they could have been.
No one was killed and injuries were limited.
"We were very, very lucky. And thank God for the protection he provided," Suhm said.
Rawlings said he and Suhm went out yesterday to survey the damage."It was amazing no one was hurt in the city of Dallas," he said.
While we should always be thankful for the blessings of Divine Providence, this is almost insulting to the meteorological profession.
In 1957, before today's tornado warnings existed, a single tornado struck north Dallas. Ten were killed. Yesterday, multiple tornadoes struck the 5th largest metropolitan area in the U.S. and no one was killed even though far more buildings and homes were affected!
Yes, luck always plays a role but that fact is the timely watch and warnings from the NWS, from the local television and radio meteorologists, and from AccuWeather Enterprise Solutions to our commercial clients
are largely responsible for this happy outcome.
The Dallas Morning News' editorial writers got it mostly correct (there were factual errors earlier in the editorial) when they wrote this morning:
The Emergency Alert System provided early warning that North Texas was in the bull’s-eye this time. Schools took heed and moved students into shelters — some multiple times. Instead of releasing students as the school day ended, some administrators exercised well-placed caution and kept them right where they belonged — inside concrete-and-steel buildings that offered a far greater prospect of safety. Heavy damage to an Arlington nursing home also, miraculously, does not appear to have inflicted major injuries.
Smart thinking spared lives.
The television coverage was nothing short of phenomenal. One helicopter crew hovered over southern Dallas County as a tornado raked its way over homes and industrial complexes. It was one of those rare occasions where viewers could witness nature’s raw power as the tornado lifted multiple tractor-trailer rigs more than a hundred feet into the air and hurled them around like ragdolls.
Meanwhile, weathercasters’ constant attention to radar screens and explanations of how the patterns signified new tornado activity made absolutely clear that this was a storm system to be taken with deadly seriousness. That’s how you save lives.
Immediately below is a story about the crash of Southern Flight 242 after an encounter with a severe thunderstorm 35 years ago today. Thunderstorms used to be the leading cause of airline crashes in the U.S and we'd have one every twelve to eighteen months. The last one was 18 years ago! This, too, is no coincidence. Through the hard work of Dr. Ted Fujita, Dr. John McCarthy, and others, thunderstorm-related crashes in the U.S. have nearly been eliminated.
But, if people do not know how good the warnings have become, they won't take them seriously. So, we lost 551 lives to tornadoes in 2011 even though 99% of the deaths came in areas where both tornado watches and warnings were in effect at the time of the storms' arrival.
I'm so passionate on this topic, I wrote a book on the subject that was published two years ago. You can read the first chapter here. The book, I believe, will convince you that warnings are worthy of your attention and action.
Regardless of whether you read Warnings, please take tornado warnings seriously this spring. You life may truly depend on it.