Kenosha, Wisconsin – In the wake of a deadly tornado outbreak, many people are asking how to be more efficient.
A new study conducted by researchers at Northwestern University and published in the journal PLOS ONE suggests that being less reactive to a storm might actually make you more effective.
In a paper titled “The Effect of Precautionary Precautions on the Storm-Impaired Prediction of Superstorm Katrina: A Meta-Analysis of Randomized Controlled Trials,” researchers from Northwestern and the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign examined the relationship between pre-storm warnings and tornado predictions in New Orleans during the 2010 Katrina disaster.
The study found that pre-warnings significantly reduced the number of tornado-related deaths in New York City during Katrina, while also reducing the number and severity of tornado impacts.
“It is possible that prewarning is one factor that is important in mitigating the damage from a storm,” the authors wrote.
“Our findings suggest that the effect of prewarning may be mediated by the effect on tornado risk.
This effect could be due to the ability of pre-warning to increase the magnitude of a storm, or to reduce the severity of the storm.”
As the National Weather Service prepares to release its updated tornado prediction, the authors said they wanted to know whether pre-storms can be used to enhance tornado forecasting.
In the new study, they assessed pre-tornado forecasts as they were being prepared for a storm on October 31, 2005, and compared their predicted number of tornadoes with their actual tornado risk for that day.
They found that the pre-predictions predicted the tornado numbers to be 1.8 times higher than actual numbers.
“While this result is significant, the increase in tornado risks is small and the difference between the predicted and actual number of storms is not significant,” the study concluded.
“Moreover, the prewarning effect may have diminished after Katrina, suggesting that the reduction in tornado risk might have resulted from reduced tornado impacts and/or increased prewarning efforts.”
They noted that the data on tornado impacts from the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) is available, but that their study does not include this data.
They also looked at the number, location and intensity of tornado damage from the Joint Typhoon Warning Center at the University and the National Hurricane Center (NHC).
They found no significant difference in the number or intensity of tornados between prewarning and actual tornado impacts, and found that there was no significant change in the tornado risk during the prewarnings.
The authors said that this study suggests that prewarning is important, but it is not necessarily enough to reduce tornado risk and may not necessarily help.
“In addition to this, it is important to consider the role of prewarned tornado predictions that may have resulted in reduced tornado damage,” the researchers wrote.
“We believe that a prewarning strategy should not solely be based on predictions of tornado hazards.
It should also include other information that could have contributed to predicting tornado hazard such as the severity and location of the tornadoes.”
They also noted that other research has shown that people who are more likely to be prepared for severe weather are also more likely not to experience a tornado-affected event, which could be an important factor for reducing tornado risk overall.