May 2013 Tornado Outbreak
2:14 pm
Fri March 21, 2014

NWS Report Suggests A Plan For Multiple Severe Weather Events

The path of the May 31, 2013 El Reno tornado.
Credit Norman Forecast Office / National Weather Service

The National Weather Service issued a report Friday examining last May's tornados in Oklahoma. The assessment encourages the Norman Forecast Office to develop a plan for more than one severe weather event at a time.

On May 31, eight people died in the El Reno tornado while 13 died from flash flooding that followed heavy rain. National Weather Service Meteorologist Kenneth Harding says each element of a multiple warning system should be weighted based upon its urgency and severity.

"Norman performed well in providing ample lead time for people to prepare for the tornados and flash flooding,” Harding said on a conference call. “However, members of the public indicated they were well-warned about tornados, but not as much about flash flooding."

Friday's assessment also looked at the weather service's formal warnings and communication during the May tornados, and indicates social media users found the Norman Forecast Office's "aggressive" use of Facebook and Twitter valuable.

"We recommend that the National Weather Service make social media an integral part of backup service operations,” Harding says.

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