Before the storm at home, work, or play:
Prepare a plan in advance at school:
If a warning is issued or severe weather approaches when you're at home, work, or play:
If a warning is issued or severe weather approaches when you're at school:
Prediction of severe weather progressed slowly at the start of the nineteenth century. While earlier limited attempts were made to observe the weather, not until 1870 did the development of a weather forecast service by the U. S. Army Signal Corps begin. Weather observers were used to create charts for the forecaster who used the data for daily reports. Additionally, the data were used in some secondary research.
In 1882, Sgt. John Finley established a project called "tornado studies." Finley's intent was to perform a serious study of tornadoes and associated weather conditions. As a result, the first tornado predictions were issued in March 1884. Early predictions relied heavily on the severe storm and tornado charts developed by Sgt. Finley. Much of Sgt. Finley's work would be unutilized because official policy prohibited use of the word "tornado" in forecasts. Although the ban was supposed to prevent undue panic within the public, the only thing it really prevented was severe storm research.
Even with the establishment of the Weather Bureau in 1891, no significant advancements were made in forecasting techniques for nearly fifty years. On the evening of March 20, 1948, a tornado ripped through Tinker Air Force Base, destroying 32 military aircraft and causing considerable damage to many buildings on the base. Five days later, two members of the Air Weather Service, Major Ernest Fawbush and Captain Robert Miller, realized conditions were similar to the previous storm and issued a warning of a possible tornado. Their prediction received great attention and soon Fawbush and Miller were responsible for tornado forecasting for much of the central United States.
However, even with the success of the Fawbush-Miller prediction, the Weather Bureau continued to withhold tornado predictions. In May 1952, under pressure from citizens and the media, the Weather Bureau released storm forecasts from its Washington D.C. headquarters. Soon it became clear that the prediction center should be moved closer to the Central Plains where most severe storms occur. In 1954, the National Severe Storms Forecast Center was established in Kansas City, Missouri.
Reference: Historical Essays on Meteorology; Edited by Roger Fleming. Chapter 10, Severe Convective Storms: A Brief History of Science and Practice; Kenneth C. Crawford and Edwin Kessler, Pgs. 307-319
1814: Surgeon General orders weather observations at Army Posts
1842: James Espy appointed as first official U.S. Government meteorologist
1870: President Grant and Congress establish a government meteorological service
1884: First tornado predictions were issued
1887: Use of "tornado" was banned from forecasts to avoid panic by the general public
1891: U.S. Weather Bureau established
1921: First radio broadcast of a weather forecast
1938: Ban was lifted on the use of "tornado" in forecasts
1946: "Thunderstorm Project" researches storms and gathers new information
1948: First successful tornado alert issued
1954: National Severe Storms Forecast Center (NSSFC) begins operation
1959: First weather radar commissioned
1960: World's first weather satellite launched
1971: U.S. Weather Bureau becomes National Weather Service
1975: U.S. Departments of Commerece and Defense test Doppler radar technology
1995: NSSFC renamed Storm Prediction Center (SPC)
1996: U.S. national network of Doppler radars (NEXRAD) completed