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The Progression of Weather Warnings

By Adrienne Green
November 12, 2012; 5:42 AM

Each year, thousands of severe weather warnings are issued from the National Weather Service. From warnings for damaging winds in excess of 60 mph, to flash flooding, to tornado warnings, these statements are responsible for saving lives and properties.

The first official tornado warning was made by United States Air Force Capt. Robert C. Miller and Major Ernest Fawbush on March 25, 1948. The US Air Force pioneered tornado warnings, mainly due to the Weather Bureau's ban of the word "tornado" in forecasts or statements, fearing that it would cause the public to panic. In 1950, the Weather Bureau lifted that ban, thus allowing public tornado warnings. However, the Federal Communications Commission continued to ban TV and radio broadcasting tornado warnings. Broadcast media did not follow until 1954, when meteorologist Harry Volkman broadcast the first televised tornado warning in Oklahoma City.

Since then, radio and television stations has been the main vehicle in communicating warnings to the public. In the last several years, however, new forms of media are now helping to spread the word. Specific warnings are not sent out on Twitter, Facebook and and even your cell phone. These different applications also send the information in seconds to the end user. Other advancements, including GPS application for cell phones, allow a specific warning to be sent to individuals who are located within the warning area.

There is no doubt that the technology in the next 50 years will only get faster and more specific.

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