U.S. preparedness for severe storms questioned



Doug Hill, chief meteorologist for WJLA-TV in Washington, D.C., recalled the broadcast news coverage of two supercell thunderstorms that swept through the region on September 24, producing three tornadoes and causing two fatalities. Hill said that only one local radio station which airs his forecasts activated the federal emergency alert system to immediately notify the public about the tornadoes, and added that there should be some changes in requirements. “Somehow, broadcast stations have to get the idea that these warnings and requests to activate [the alerts] are not done [just] for fun,” he said.

Hill was among several experts appearing at an October 11 congressional hearing, “Weatherproofing the U.S.: Are We Prepared for Severe Storms?” The hearing, which was held by the U.S. House of Representatives' Science Committee, included testimony about the nation's emergency preparedness in dealing with several types of severe weather: tornadoes, hurricanes, and wind storms.