The accuracy of weather predictions has increased significantly over the last few decades. This being a fact, why is the death toll high each year, in spite of live weather alerts? When hundreds of Tornado warnings are issued every year, it causes “caution fatigue” in most of us. This is due to the fact that many times, though the alert has been issued, no tornado turned up. Over time, we tend to feel, that it will not happen to us. It is a recipe for disaster since statistics will catch up when least expected.
A responsible person will not ignore a Tornado alert, even though he has gone through many false alarms. Remember, though the course of a tornado can be predicted with reasonable probability, the tornado does not know this and so meanders at its whims and fancies, leaving a trail of destruction and death.
Another reason some of you ignore a Tornado alert is that work disruption, even for a short while, entails a heavy economic cost. Unfortunately, safety cannot be compromised and we have to work around the problem with innovative solutions. If feasible, one way would be to replicate your workstation in the emergency shelter. When the alert is sounded, shift to the emergency shelter and continue till the alert is lifted. This way, not only has safety been factored in, economically you do not suffer and your timelines are yet on target.
There is a peculiar propensity for people living in the plains of the country to wait and watch rather than take evasive action during an alert. They are under the mistaken notion that they can see the tornado heading towards them because the topography is flat. Yes, most of the time it is possible, but in some locations, the tornado can veer and hit your location very rapidly. In case you are caught without appropriate shelter, you run the risk of severe injury or even death. The risks far outweigh the benefits. It is better taking cover as soon as the Tornado alert is sounded.
On the whole, most people do pay serious attention to a Tornado alert. To those of you, who tend to ignore it, remember while the prediction of a tornado and its path has improved dramatically over the years it is not perfect. Also the current practice of not declaring a Tornado alert for the whole county, but in and around the predicted path of the tornado, means that a Tornado alert is a not a warning to be ignored. Be responsible and take shelter, you owe it to yourself and family.