Forecasting Significant Tornadoes: A case-study evaluation of the Storm Prediction Center
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The purpose of this experiment was to evaluate the effectiveness of the risk assessment put out by the Storm Prediction Center (SPC) during significant tornado outbreaks. A significant tornado outbreak, for the purposes of this experiment, is defined as a tornado outbreak that results in multiple EF-2 or greater tornadoes, resulting in a life-threatening situation for anyone in the path of these storms. For this experiment, two outbreaks were selected: the May 3, 1999 outbreak in Oklahoma and the April 27, 2011 outbreak in Alabama. These outbreaks were chosen because of their historical significance in meteorology and the fact that they both produced long-lived powerful tornadoes. A target area was selected for each of the events and a time window was chosen. Tornado paths were gathered and were compared to the areas of risk and were also compared by EF type. One hypothesis was studied. The null hypothesis states that the intensity of tornadoes is not related to risk zone, with the alternative stating that intensity is related to risk zone.