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May 2, 2002 — A team of experts from NOAA's National Weather Service today began a routine service assessment of the agency's operations during last weekend's tornado event in southern Maryland. The outbreak killed three people, injured 120 others and caused damages exceeding $100 million. (Click NOAA photo for larger view of debris in La Plata, Md., taken April 29, 2002. Click here for high resolution version of this image. Note this is a large file. Please credit "NOAA.")

On Monday, the NOAA Weather Service Baltimore/Washington forecast office preliminarily rated one tornado, which struck the town of La Plata, as an F5—the highest ranking on the Fujita Tornado Damage Scale, with winds exceeding 260 mph.

After large-scale weather events, the National Weather Service routinely sends out service assessment teams to, "discover ways the agency can improve its overall operations, from forecasts and warnings, to community outreach," said team leader John Ogren, who also heads NOAA's forecast office in Indianapolis, Ind.

Ogren introduced the team at a news conference in La Plata. He said after the members speak with local emergency managers, media and the public impacted by the tornadoes, the team would prepare a report of recommendations to the National Weather Service. The recommendations often highlight best practices and lessons learned from severe weather events.

An announcement of when the final report is complete will happen later, Ogren said. Click here to learn more about the agency's service assessments.

NOAA National Weather Service is the primary source of weather data, forecasts and warnings for the United States and its territories. NOAA National Weather Service operates the most advanced weather and flood warning and forecast system in the world, helping to protect lives and property and enhance the national economy.

Relevant Web Sites
NOAA's Storm Watch — Get the latest severe weather information across the USA

NOAA's Tornadoes Page

USA Weather Hazards

NOAA's Weather Page

NOAA's Storm Prediction Center

NOAA's National Severe Storms Laboratory

Media Contact:
Curtis Carey, NOAA's National Weather Service, (301) 713-0622
(Photo courtesy of NOAA's National Weather Service Baltimore/Washington forecast office.)



This article comes from Science Blog. Copyright 2004

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