A Destructive and Deadly Sunday

| November 17, 2017

Sunday, November 17, 2013, was certainly a day for the record books across the Midwest, Great Lakes, and Ohio River Valley. To start the day, the Storm Prediction Center (SPC) issued a very rare “high risk” for severe weather across portions of Illinois, Indiana, Ohio, and Michigan. High risks are only issued once or twice a year, and some years not at all.

Leading up to this event, the SPC had mentioned for several days a risk for severe weather over the weekend was likely from the Mississippi Valley up into the Great Lakes. They began to issue risks for the region four days prior to the event. As the storm system responsible for the severe weather moved out of the Plains and upper-level dynamics aligned with this storm system, it became clear that a substantial severe weather outbreak would occur. The day before the event, there was a slight risk issued over portions of Iowa and Missouri and the SPC went ahead and issued a moderate risk on their Day Two Convective Outlook for areas around the southern Great Lakes.

By Sunday morning, it was surprising how dynamic this system had become as ample moisture, wind shear, and uplift would provide instability and fuel for thunderstorms. The SPC issued their “high risk” and as soon as this risk was issued, MyWARN was alerting its users. Surrounding this high risk area, a moderate risk had also been issued for much of the Great Lakes region. Around that risk area, the SPC issued a slight risk which extended from the Southeast to the Northeast. The issuing of these three risk areas put millions of people on guard to the threat of severe weather on Sunday.

As the day progressed, two Particularly Dangerous Situation (PDS) tornado watches were issued. As soon as the watches were issued, MyWARN was alerting users within the watch areas. Not long after the watches were issued, thunderstorms began to develop rapidly. Once storms reached severe limits, local National Weather Service Offices began issuing warnings. The moment these warnings were issued, the location of each warning entered the MyWARN server and was sent out immediately to users in the affected areas.

11-18-2013 7-41-08 AM Looking at the storm reports from the event, it appears both the SPC and the local NWS offices did a superb job of issuing watches and warnings in the areas that were impacted. Widespread destruction did occur in several states and there was loss of life in Illinois, but with the millions of people that were in the risk areas, it could have been much worse. This large outbreak of severe weather had MyWARN extremely busy alerting thousands of users across the region. As the storms bore down on communities, MyWARNers were receiving warning notifications as they were issued, giving them plenty of time to take action.

The key to surviving severe weather outbreaks like this one is to have a severe weather safety plan. This plan includes what to do, where to go, a first aid kit, and an effective way to receive severe weather alerts. Many people continue to rely on outdoor weather sirens, but as the name implies, are for alerting people outdoors. It is essential that you have a way to receive alerts and the easiest way for that is to have a weather radio or a reliable smart phone app like MyWARN. Have peace of mind, with this simple piece of technology that will be a great addition to your severe weather arsenal.

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Category: MyWarn News

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