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Old January 30th, 2013, 09:10 AM   #1 (permalink)
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National Weather Service

There was a thread about this a while back. Here's another one. What is the deal with this "National Weather Service" ("NWS")?

There was a huge storm that passed through middle Tennessee last night. Tornadoes etc. When the NWS cuts into the TV programming, it's as if there is some guy (not from here) in a cave, broadcasting from a crystal radio. Horrible hum & static, and the TV screen shows little or no useful info. Gets stuck there for some long time. Attempting to change channels doesn't work. Maybe sort of like what TV was like in 1939.

Is this just in TN, or everywhere? Some sort of budget cut stuff? Maybe other areas of gov't should be cut $$-wise, and this one boosted. Lame beyond belief.

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Old January 30th, 2013, 09:16 AM   #2 (permalink)
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There is a lot of drama put into weather reporting during and after storms.
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Old January 30th, 2013, 09:23 AM   #3 (permalink)
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My cousin is a meteorologist with the NWS. He lives in Slidell, La. During Hurricane Katrina he was literally in a concrete bunker giving updates ( I never asked him if they were broadcast or just to the NWS offices elsewhere ) until the winds and debris tore most of his equipment and antennas off the roof of said bunker. He was stuck in there for the better part of 24 hours. I think your initial post may be very close to the truth.
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Old January 30th, 2013, 09:25 AM   #4 (permalink)
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There is a lot of drama put into weather reporting during and after storms.
The chief meteorologists in the OKC television market are more highly paid and coveted than the anchors. When storms hit here, there is high drama. Unfortunately, most of it is warranted and life or death in some cases. I used to make fun of folks for getting so worked up about tornadic activitiy until I had one pass within a 1/2 mile of my house. Holy crap are they incredible and destructive.
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Old January 30th, 2013, 09:41 AM   #5 (permalink)
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The wife's phone went off with a weather alert around 2:45. We just laid in bed for about 2 minutes talking, while she waited for the radar to load. Then the electricity went out. I said, "Is it even raining?" Answer = nope. Within 20 seconds the bottom fell out of the sky and I thought we were headed to Oz (not Down Under, apologies to our Aussie friends). We grabbed the dog and headed to the basement. 3 mins later the whole thing was over and we just had a gentle rain. I put on my boots and walked around the house, but didn't find any damage.

A buddy of mine who's property backs up to Old Hickory Lake lost his pontoon boat. Something rammed into it and it sank. I haven't turned on the news yet. Not sure what else might be going on.
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Old January 30th, 2013, 10:02 AM   #6 (permalink)
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Unfortunately a lot of weather events are now overly dramatized because people will tune in and watch the local stations. If it's a slow news day that 2 inches of snow may turn into a major winter storm. But it's like the boy who cried wolf, now no one will pay attention when something really serious comes along because they are desensitized to it. Fortunately the NWS has their own system of warnings that have some credibility compared to the TV folks who want ratings.

Slight thread hijack: I've been thinking of getting one of those weather radios. Are they useful?
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Old January 30th, 2013, 10:28 AM   #7 (permalink)
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The local "Award Winning" meteorologists around here can't tell you what the weather is going to do 15 minutes from now. The NWS is the only thing that anyone pays any attention to.
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Old January 30th, 2013, 10:37 AM   #8 (permalink)
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Unfortunately a lot of weather events are now overly dramatized because people will tune in and watch the local stations. If it's a slow news day that 2 inches of snow may turn into a major winter storm. But it's like the boy who cried wolf, now no one will pay attention when something really serious comes along because they are desensitized to it. Fortunately the NWS has their own system of warnings that have some credibility compared to the TV folks who want ratings.
In this region of the US... the "northern" South.... I'm convinced that the local grocery stores sponsor the weather reports during the winter, and make deals to have them predict snow. And I'm dead serious. All they have to do is float out a prediction of snow... and by 7pm that evening, all the shelves of the local grocery stores are bare. Seriously - people act like idiots and buy whatever food is left.

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Slight thread hijack: I've been thinking of getting one of those weather radios. Are they useful?
There is a weather radio where I work. The severe weather app on my smart phone usually goes off 30 seconds before the weather radio goes off. Most of the time, I've already jumped on my computer and checked the radar by the time the weather radio goes off.

If you don't have a smart phone, and you're considering the purchase of one, having a severe weather app might be appealing to you.

If you don't care anything about a smart phone, a weather radio is certainly useful, and better than nothing.
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Old January 30th, 2013, 10:44 AM   #9 (permalink)
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Slight thread hijack: I've been thinking of getting one of those weather radios. Are they useful?
I think so. I use mine to wake me up in the middle of the night if severe weather is coming through. Most other times I am aware of the weather conditions from looking at the sky, listening to AM radio, etc.
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Old January 30th, 2013, 11:16 AM   #10 (permalink)
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There is a weather radio where I work. The severe weather app on my smart phone usually goes off 30 seconds before the weather radio goes off. Most of the time, I've already jumped on my computer and checked the radar by the time the weather radio goes off.

If you don't have a smart phone, and you're considering the purchase of one, having a severe weather app might be appealing to you.

If you don't care anything about a smart phone, a weather radio is certainly useful, and better than nothing.
I've got an iphone. I guess I should learn how to use it.
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Old January 30th, 2013, 11:27 AM   #11 (permalink)
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In this region of the US... the "northern" South.... I'm convinced that the local grocery stores sponsor the weather reports during the winter, and make deals to have them predict snow. And I'm dead serious. All they have to do is float out a prediction of snow... and by 7pm that evening, all the shelves of the local grocery stores are bare. Seriously - people act like idiots and buy whatever food is left.
Snow scares have that effect everywhere. In Seattle the weather is so unpredictable that the weather report alone isn't enough to start the panic, but once the snow actually starts falling pandemonium ensues.
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Old January 30th, 2013, 11:36 AM   #12 (permalink)
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The handheld two-ways (FRS/GMRS) that I use when skiing or caravan-ing have NWS bands and I use them frequently. I don't care for the delays of waiting for the same information get to a news outlet or application gateway before I see/hear it.
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Old January 30th, 2013, 01:14 PM   #13 (permalink)
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I've got an iphone. I guess I should learn how to use it.
No big deal. Search for The Weather Channel app. There may be better suggestions, but this one works just fine for me. I only have it set for tornado warning. If you have it set for tornado watch, severe thunderstorm warning, winter storm warning, etc... it will go off everyday.

Just set if for the life-threatening stuff that you need to know about 20/30 mins in advance.
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Old January 30th, 2013, 06:43 PM   #14 (permalink)
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I just looked around the yard. Lots of small damage but nothing major. As this is about the fourth storm like this in the last couple of years, I guess all the trees that aren't super-sturdy have already been knocked over or uprooted!

I have a Behringer noise gate I'd be happy to donate to the NWS. They sure do need something.
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Old January 30th, 2013, 07:20 PM   #15 (permalink)
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We are under a tornado watch right now. It's storming like crazy, but no severe winds yet. There was a pretty nasty tornado in north Georgia earlier this afternoon.
As far as as the NWS alerts, they've always been of terrible quality on the radio, not much better on tv.
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Old January 31st, 2013, 04:53 AM   #16 (permalink)
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Weather Alerts... Just say no to TV and use one of these... Always armed and silent 'til needed.



Also very useful in that anytime you want, just press the button and get a no frills weather report.
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Old January 31st, 2013, 01:38 PM   #17 (permalink)
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Laura's Subaru has weather band on the radio. We find it useful traveling, or when we're out in the sticks and the sky changes quickly.
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Old February 1st, 2013, 12:39 PM   #18 (permalink)
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I believe the NWS is going through some changes on how they handle extreme weather events.
Did you know if the NWS had NASA's annual budget they could operate for 500 years? Kind of puts it in perspective.
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