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                   Monday, December 7, 2009 - 7:04PM

It's time to do away with severe thunderstorm warnings

By DAN ROBINSON
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25 Years of Storm Observing
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After all, there are too many instances of them. People have grown accustomed to the warnings and don't pay attention any more. The workload on forecasters is burdensome. People should hear the thunder and see the dark clouds and lightning, and know that they should take cover. They are responsible for their own safety - after all, they voluntarily chose to be outdoors where the hazard is known to be. SPS (special weather statements) are sufficient to cover this weather hazard.

Does that sound rediculous? Well, that is the way that the road icing hazard is being treated. At least 33 people have died from road ice in the US during the past 4 days. This morning, two children on their way to school in Kentucky were killed and their mother seriously hurt during an event that had no warnings, only an overnight SPS in effect.

I challenge any critic of a road ice warning product to come up with a real reason why a hazard that is directly responsible for more deaths than any convective threat does not deserve a warning product, while a severe thunderstorm - a hazard that kills a handful of people a year - gets the massive allocation of resources and manpower that it does.

(Now for the record, I'm not actually advocating dropping the severe thunderstorm warning product - I'm simply using it to illustrate the point.)

NEWS STORY: Children killed in icy road collision, mother remains in hospital

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The following comments were posted before this site switched to a new comment system on August 27, 2016:

I agree with your points! I think originally the thunderstorm warning was created with good intent but now it is just used as a reason for tv stations to interupt programming to increase their wx ratings. Have you ever heard of anyone dying during a thunderstorm warning? Probably not. And if it were about saving lives they would have to issue Highway/Road Warnings 24/7! As with most things these days it is media/money/entertainment. If saving lives figures in there then ok but if not then it really does not matter.
- Posted by Brad from Kansas

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