Tornado Central

Last Friday, during my road trip to Oklahoma, a swath of severe, tornadic thunderstorms developed across the southeastern corner of that State. While I was well to the north and west of the storms, their cloudtops loomed to the southeast and I was treated to a few hours of weather coverage by the meteorologists of Oklahoma City.

Since their metropolitan area is second only to Clearwater, Florida, in its susceptibility to tornadoes, these meteorologists are exceptionally knowledgeable about the dynamics of these storms and provide coverage that is both educational and entertaining. Combining information from onsight storm chasers (mapped by GPS on one station) and the latest storm imaging technology, these enthusiatic forecasters keep the citizens of Oklahoma well informed; based on the scientific detail of their discussions, it is also clear that they are speaking to an engaged populace that respects, understands and heeds their advice.

Most televised weather reports focus on the severity and direction of dangerous storms, providing information that has been invaluable in saving lives; the coverage from Oklahoma City goes well beyond this vital warning system, offering insight into factors that generate, sustain or weaken these atmospheric monsters. For those of us who are fascinated by the weather, their expert coverage of tornadic thunderstorms is a thrilling, if unfortunate, experience.