View Poll Results: Tor-Con index: Useful tool or ratings-boosting BS?
Useful tool 0 0%
Ratings-boosting BS 18 100.00%
other 0 0%
Voters: 18. You may not vote on this poll

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#1
Old 04-02-2017, 06:32 PM
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Weather Channel's Tor-Con index: Useful tool or ratings-boosting BS?

I overheard the Weather Channel giving a region in Texas a Tor-Con rating of 6 earlier today. As I stood there trying to figure out what they were talking about, the weather person helpfully explained that such a rating meant there was a 60% chance of a tornado appearing there today.

I initially assumed that such a term was a ratings gimmick; the same assumption I made when they started naming blizzards recently.

But, I decided that perhaps I should investigate a bit further. Eventually I found their explanation about The Tor-Con index.

Having perused it, I still consider it a ratings gimmick. But perhaps I'm jaded.

So, what do you think?
#2
Old 04-02-2017, 07:56 PM
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Percent chance of a tornado appearing WHERE?. In the state? In the forecast zone? In the county? In the town? In your yard? Even if the chance of a tornado in your forecast zone is 100%, the chances are still a million to one that it will strike at the spot where you happen to be. Which puts the tor-con where you happen to be at its usual 0.00001% or less.

How about if they put the chances that there will be a winner in the Power Ball drawing at 60%. What does that tell you?

Last edited by jtur88; 04-02-2017 at 08:01 PM.
#3
Old 04-02-2017, 08:57 PM
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I didn't know what it was until you told us, but I still voted BS. because The Weather Channel.
#4
Old 04-02-2017, 09:00 PM
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I still think the blizzard naming is just a gimmick. Take note that the National Weather Service won't even acknowledge TWC names for blizzards.
#5
Old 04-02-2017, 09:08 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jtur88 View Post
Percent chance of a tornado appearing WHERE?. In the state? In the forecast zone? In the county? In the town? In your yard?
"Within 50 miles of any location within the indicated area". To which we may say, Gee that's mighty useful, rotation-breath. But that does reflect weatherpeople getting better at having some sense of where is the severe weather heading; it's just that they used to suck really badly at it.

But sure, you could say "the weather is gonna be really bad today, dudes, there's a 60% chance of tornados in Waffelhaus County east and north of Doublewideville, be on the lookout" but that does not sound like some sort of sensor reading from Star Trek and you cannot trademark a percentage probability.

Last edited by JRDelirious; 04-02-2017 at 09:10 PM.
#6
Old 04-02-2017, 09:14 PM
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It's neither BS or useful. It's a fair measurement of the likelyhood of a tornado, but tornadoes are such small scale events that it serves no useful purpose.

I'm not sure which way to vote.
#7
Old 04-02-2017, 10:23 PM
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If the index has been reproducibly validated by quality research, showing that its probability ratings have value, then it would be a useful tool.

In the absence of such evidence, it is a massive crock designed to improve Weather Channel ratings.
#8
Old 04-02-2017, 10:40 PM
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That's my take on damn near everything that channel / site now does. They were certainly useful, meaningful, and a bit geeky in the old days.

Now they're a friggin' reality show about clouds. Complete with staged tantrums. How far the mighty have fallen.

Last edited by LSLGuy; 04-02-2017 at 10:40 PM.
#9
Old 04-03-2017, 12:46 AM
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Not as useful as the original TWC forecast tool, where they shove an intern outside in a thunderstorm and watch what happens.
#10
Old 04-03-2017, 08:21 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jackmannii View Post
If the index has been reproducibly validated by quality research, showing that its probability ratings have value, then it would be a useful tool.

In the absence of such evidence, it is a massive crock designed to improve Weather Channel ratings.
It's still not useful. They show a map covering tens of thousands of square miles and say there's a 60% chance of a 200 yard wide weather event. No practical use at all.
#11
Old 04-03-2017, 08:30 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by boffking View Post
I still think the blizzard naming is just a gimmick. Take note that the National Weather Service won't even acknowledge TWC names for blizzards.
One of the TV weather dudes around here started naming snowstorms 40 years ago. Interesting to see the rest of the country finally caught up.
#12
Old 04-03-2017, 08:53 AM
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Originally Posted by PoppaSan View Post
One of the TV weather dudes around here started naming snowstorms 40 years ago. Interesting to see the rest of the country finally caught up.
The Weather Channel is not "the rest of the country"
#13
Old 04-03-2017, 08:55 AM
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The NWS Storm Prediction Center does convective outlook predictions that predict regions likely to have severe thunder storms and tornadoes.

One problem TWC, Accuweather, etc. have is that there are great forecasts available for free from the NWS. So they have to invent "products" to distinguish themselves. Marketing 101.
#14
Old 04-03-2017, 09:44 AM
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I voted BS ... it's a meaningless statistic of no use to anyone ... infotainment at the expense of real science ... and this has nothing to do with them not naming a blizzard after me ... the bastards ...

weather.GOV ... accept no substitute ...

Last edited by watchwolf49; 04-03-2017 at 09:47 AM.
#15
Old 04-03-2017, 10:05 AM
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They really should name a blizzard after you. Both blizzards and your posts are full of small round particles that obstruct our view of what's going on.
#16
Old 04-03-2017, 10:22 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by LSLGuy View Post
They really should name a blizzard after you. Both blizzards and your posts are full of small round particles that obstruct our view of what's going on.


I guess that'll be my next poll. Am I wasting people's time posting here?

Last edited by Qadgop the Mercotan; 04-03-2017 at 10:24 AM.
#17
Old 04-03-2017, 10:43 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Qadgop the Mercotan View Post


I guess that'll be my next poll. Am I wasting people's time posting here?
it is probably about the prior post by the person who strangely uses ellipses.
#18
Old 04-03-2017, 03:06 PM
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Attn: A snowstorm is not a Blizzard!!!

If The Weather Channel only named blizzards, they'd rarely get past Charley. Blizzards are a combination of high winds and very low visibility for an extended period of time. It doesn't even have to be snowing for a blizzard to occur.

Even a two foot snowstorm is not a blizzard absent the wind, visibility, and duration.
#19
Old 04-03-2017, 04:03 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Lamar Mundane View Post
Attn: A snowstorm is not a Blizzard!!!
Very true, and even more egregious of them!
#20
Old 04-03-2017, 07:05 PM
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Blizzards are pretty much the exclusive province of the high and Central plains east of the Rockies. Eastern Montana, Wyoming, the Dakotas, Nebraska, Kansas, and Eastern Colorado. Also the Eastern edge of the Northern Great Lakes States.

You can get them where Qadgop lives down to Chicago, but the prevailing winds are almost always from the wrong direction. A Nor'easter can produce one, but it has to be really cold and snowy. The ocean tends to keep the air too warm. The rest of the country hasn't seen one.

Blizzards are deadly. It's when you find a car in a ditch in March with a couple of frozen bodies and a newspaper from January.
#21
Old 04-03-2017, 07:22 PM
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The basic idea of forecasting which areas are more likely to have a tornado is useful to some people, but jacking up the radius to fifty miles and putting it on TV is ratings-boosting BS. The National Weather Service has similar products, although they don't show up in the ordinary forecasts, and they use a much smaller radius that produces much smaller-looking numbers.

People want the hype, though. My county is always looking for money for more tornado sirens, even though they don't really do anything for safety in actual tornado country, let alone our county where there have been maybe ten tornadoes in thirty years, with eight being little EF0s that just twisted some cornstalks for 15 seconds.

Last edited by Lord Feldon; 04-03-2017 at 07:25 PM.
#22
Old 04-03-2017, 10:39 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Qadgop the Mercotan View Post


I guess that'll be my next poll. Am I wasting people's time posting here?
Just to clarify ...

I was referring the post just above mine, not your OP. I apologize if you misunderstood.
#23
Old 04-05-2017, 11:04 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by LSLGuy View Post
Just to clarify ...

I was referring the post just above mine, not your OP. I apologize if you misunderstood.
In that case, never mind . . .
#24
Old 04-06-2017, 10:53 AM
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To put a cherry on top of the BS, I'd like to remind everyone that The Weather Channel colluded with Rick Santorum to attempt to get the National Weather Service to stop giving out free weather information.
#25
Old 04-06-2017, 02:59 PM
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I voted BS, but on reflection I want to round that out. I lived smack in the middle of far too many tornadoes for a few years. Here's what I used TOR-CON for: a rough barometer of how big and bad the storms headed my way were likely to be. Secondarily, whether those storms (which can have fronts that span states) might be capable of spawning tornadoes somewhere on the front. IOW, I never took it as an indication that I, in middle Missouri, needed to spend the night in my basement, I had the National Weather Service radio system set up for that. I took it as an indication that we were going to get some pretty spectacular lightning (or not) and that I might need to pay a little more attention (or not) to the weather for the next several hours using other sources.

Another piece of data, basically, and never a decisive one.
#26
Old 04-06-2017, 05:23 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Turble View Post
To put a cherry on top of the BS, I'd like to remind everyone that The Weather Channel colluded with Rick Santorum to attempt to get the National Weather Service to stop giving out free weather information.
There is no friggin' depth to which Santorum wont' stoop. I know I hated the guy but this takes the cake.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Sunny Daze View Post
I voted BS, but on reflection I want to round that out. I lived smack in the middle of far too many tornadoes for a few years. Here's what I used TOR-CON for: a rough barometer of how big and bad the storms headed my way were likely to be. Secondarily, whether those storms (which can have fronts that span states) might be capable of spawning tornadoes somewhere on the front. IOW, I never took it as an indication that I, in middle Missouri, needed to spend the night in my basement, I had the National Weather Service radio system set up for that. I took it as an indication that we were going to get some pretty spectacular lightning (or not) and that I might need to pay a little more attention (or not) to the weather for the next several hours using other sources.

Another piece of data, basically, and never a decisive one.
As a former St. Louis resident this matches my thinking. It was BS in specific, but as an index of how big/bad the next few hours might be it's a useful rule of thumb. OTOH, the NWS thunderstorm & tornado watch areas do the same thing.
#27
Old 04-07-2017, 08:54 AM
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The Storm Prediction Center's convective outlook for Tuesday showed a really high region of risk centered around middle Georgia. There were over 20 tornadoes in Georgia that day.

Convective index is a real thing and quite useful.

There's just no reason for TWC to do a possibly less reliable version. They should just show SPC's and leave it at that.
#28
Old 04-07-2017, 11:09 AM
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In an attempt to find the most accurate weather forecasting app, I have been using What The Forecast aka WTForecast. It hasn't been wrong yet.
#29
Old 04-07-2017, 02:53 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Turble View Post
To put a cherry on top of the BS, I'd like to remind everyone that The Weather Channel colluded with Rick Santorum to attempt to get the National Weather Service to stop giving out free weather information.
That was AccuWeather, a PA company that was a big contributor to Santorum. The Weather Channel might have contributed indirectly through an industry group, but the biig backer was AccuWeather.

TWC does some dumb stuff and I hate their founder, but they do great work. They don't nerf the science behind the forecasting and almost all of the on-air staff are degreed meteorologists, including some PhD's.
#30
Old 04-08-2017, 11:33 AM
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I stand corrected; it was indeed AccuWeather and Santorum.
#31
Old 04-08-2017, 12:04 PM
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One of the great things about the Internet is that science-based, non-commercial weather info (including alerts and radar) is readily available through the National Weather Service.

All the for-profit services (to varying extents) depend on hyping weather and their product, generally to scare people rather than inform them. What's most important to them is boosting ratings and site visits (which is why, in addition to avoiding the Weather Channel and its ilk, I seldom if ever watch TV weather reports. I get the feeling those people cry tears of regret whenever severe weather is in short supply).
#32
Old 04-08-2017, 01:15 PM
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Which is exactly why they invented what I call "weather reality TV". To have something to scare people with when the sun is shining and the birds are tweeting and all is right with the world.
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