The technology is cutting edge. Tim Troutman with the National Weather Service explained, "When we see indications based upon Doppler Radar and also the reflectivity images which gives us the rainfall rates, we then at that point make that decision to issue the tornado warning."
But even with advanced warning several days before the event, a major outbreak can still be devastating.
Justin Holland with Chattanooga Public Works said, "I don’t think we’ve ever seen an event of this magnitude regarding debris removal in our area ever."
The April 27th event broke records left and right. At more than 60 fatalities across our region it was the deadliest tornado day since 1925. And the number of tornado-producing storms beat the Super Outbreak back in 1974. But those old record events happened well before the advent of Doppler radar.
Troutman adds, "Basically our statistics in the early 1980s before we were able to get Doppler Radar, we had an average warning lead time of a couple minutes. And then that increased to about between 12-15 minutes on average now with Doppler Radar technology."
Without Doppler radar and emergency plans, April 27th could have been a bigger disaster.