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 March 6, 2007

Linn County EF4 tornado & changing weather

Good afternoon everyone,

A weak storm may affect the region on Friday. Thunderstorms are possible and we will have more on this storm on tonight's newscasts at 5, 6 and 10 PM on NBC Action News. Below is the report from the National Weather Service as the nations first EF4 tornado occurred right here in Linn County.

Linn County, KS Tornado is the Nation’s First EF4

On February 28th, 2007 a large and destructive tornado moved through Linn County, KS near the town of Blue Mound , where it caused damage in rural areas. The most notable damage occurred northwest of Blue Mound, KS where a house and several farm buildings were completely destroyed. Click here for the complete story of the event.

Experts from the National Weather Service office in Pleasant Hill, MO conducted a storm damage survey the following day, March 1st and have rated this tornado to have a peak intensity of EF4 on the new Enhanced Fujita Scale. This rating corresponds to wind speeds estimated to be between 166 and 200 mph. In addition to local experts, numerous other nationally recognized damage survey experts have also viewed the data and have all supported a rating of EF4 for this tornado based on the evidence available. (see www.spc.noaa.gov/faq/tornado/ef-scale.html for more information on the Enhanced Fujita Scale)

Have a great day. We will have more on Friday's storm tonight or early on Wednesday.


Posted by at March 6, 2007 3:22 PM


I assume they're saying that this is the first tornado to have this rating under the brand new system, not that it is the first tornado to ever be this strong. Is that correct? Is there an equivalent on the old scale to the EF4 rating?

Yes, exactly. This may have been an F3 on the old scale. Still this is quite impressive.


Posted by: Al at March 6, 2007 3:28 PM

Wow - F3 - I had no idea it was that strong. Yes, I disregarded the EF scale...I'm protesting the change (there was nothing wrong with the old scale, in my view).

Thanks for posting my photos of the eclipse the other night and I'm glad to hear so many other people in the area were able to view it. I've posted more photos (and enlarged versions) on my page:

...where I also frequently post columns about meteorology-related events, storm chase summaries, current events regarding climate change, etc... I'd welcome any feedback from bloggers (via email or comments on the page) about the content.

Thanks for providing this blog as such a great forum for meteorologists and weather fans around the area - it is truly an asset.

Now bring on an active spring regime!!

It is almost like changing the Wind Chill Factor chart a few years ago. Why? But, this new scale does seem to be refined quite nicely. So I am embracing it.


Posted by: Jake at March 6, 2007 3:57 PM

Two significant facts for the EF-4….First, this is the first EF-4 under the enhanced system. The prior tornados this year were EF-3 or less. Second, this is the first one this strong in Kansas this early in a season both old or new ratings.

I would offer that windspeed should not be the key factor in determining strength of the tornado. Since these can’t be measured at occurance, damage indicators are used as the method in the new system. Since the result of tornados are measured truly by damage and not just windspeed, this system makes more sense. To that extent, trying to compare to the old system would be difficult, as the old system also tried to measure by damage, not top winds. So..in essence, this storm could have been anywhere from a F3-F5. This is why the new system makes more sense. To that end, however…not all damage indicators are known yet. This system is still being developed. Rural areas will be harder to evaluate in the new system as there is very little property or noted impacts in these areas that provide a solid understanding of structural integrity for known damage indicator structures.

This is going to be a wicked Spring. I can already feel it. Hang on tight!

Excellent information! Thanks for helping everyone understand how this works.


Posted by: Scott at March 6, 2007 4:22 PM

Dear weather team i think last night you guys were forecasting somewhere in the lower 60s to upper 60s.Did you notice that the other stations forecast somewhere in the lower 50s for the metro area.Sometimes i fill like calling them up and telling them how wrong they are.And it is 65 at my house in westren wyandotte county.

We were thinking 58-67 degrees on the south side which we showed last night, but it warmed up north so I am not too happy with our forecast today.


Posted by: Brent Hickman at March 6, 2007 4:33 PM


Made it to 70 here in Lawrence this afternoon.

Also some links are needed on this page to take us too your main weather page.

I, and I'm sure others start on your Blog page to see what is on the weather teams mind and then migrate over to other items, as our curiousity warrants.

Excellent suggestion. I will pass it along. Wow! 70 degrees! I blew today's forecast. I knew we would be humbled right after we post the weather ratings.



Posted by: Bob from Lawrence at March 6, 2007 4:57 PM

This the most biased blog I have ever seen. This is nothing but advertising, one sided opinions, nobody ever disagreeing with you. I think you are no more accurate than anyone else, give me a break! If you are going to claim accuracy, you should give the reason why you claim it and the statistics. I want proof. Anyway the only thing that matters ia amount and type of precip. I could care less if you get the temps right or wrong a few degrees. I compare you all the time against NOAA, which by the way, is the ONLY place I can really get local weather without someone's rear end in front of us on the map. I don't see any difference, it's all computer software doing what it's programmed to do. They are just as wrong and just as right as you and the other stations. Maybe what really bugs me is that you self congratulate yourselves all the time. So do the other stations. It's bad form and bragging is distasteful in any form. Just get real!

Once again, this is not our opinion. This is fact. We are not biased at all. This is the whole point of showing you the data. You don't think we are the most accurate. We invite you to compare yourself. We will back it up and beat the National Weather Service forecasts as well. There is a difference and we have known about this for a very long time. I am certain you will agree if you give us a chance. I also understand, though, how you feel and we don't want to make anyone mad.


Posted by: Ray at March 6, 2007 5:48 PM

Hi Gary and the weather team.

EF4, that's quite a strong tornado. I knew you were mentioning that it was quite cold for this. I know that it was around 48 degrees up here in the metro at the time of the hail events, but do you know what the temperature was at the time and at the place that the supercells were occuring? Thanks, and congrats on being number one!

Yes, it was only in the middle 50s. Amazing! February was a rare month in our region!


Posted by: Jonathan Katz at March 6, 2007 5:49 PM

Gary, i am getting our son trained. He is 22 mos old. I am trying to teach him "lezak" when you come on. Well, he says "Zak"..ha! Trying to get him interested in weather..ha! He has breakfast to the weather channel.


Tell your son hi from us!


Posted by: Randy Senior at March 6, 2007 6:24 PM

Hello, I have just got done reading yesterdays blog comments, and I have something to say. Why wouldn't yuo want to put up an advertisment say that you were Certified Most Accurate?? If you're least watched in KC (which is the sad truth) wouldn't you want to get more viewers to watch u? I mean, I would take it into thought THEN say yes or no. Not just a straight out NO. Think about it. It really would be a great way to get viewers. It does make sense. Nobody else is doing it, and so you could be the first. If you do think about it really hard, it would make great sense to do that.

Of course the goal is to get more viewers to watch us. But, we are very likely not the least watched. We did an analysis about a year ago and did minute by minute of one of our 10 PM newscasts. Our viewership jumps dramatically when the weather comes on. We often don't get credit for a viewer switching over just to watch the weather, but we know it happens. We will continue to work on having the best weathercast, most information, and of course most accurate each night.


Posted by: Alden at March 6, 2007 6:49 PM

It looks like mother nature pulled a fast one! Oh well things happen from time to time!
I have watched you for many years and I know that you guys are more accurate, I can't count the number of times the "other forecasts" would seem to converge on what you were already forecasting days before You guys are the best it is that simple:)
Nick in Mild St. Joe!
I really don't know what else you could do to better show that you are the best, the only thing that I can think of is the next time there is to be a big storm system a week away, record what the other stations forecast it to do and then a week later, after the event it all set and done, put down what they forecast compared to you and quote some of their thoughts of what they thought the storm was going or not going to do, compared to quotes from you and your team at the time. I don't know if this would be possible, but maybe if this or something very similar were done a few times it would give specific examples of your accuracy!!! Just an idea;)

Jeremy does take down this information. I doubt we will ever do that. But, this, today, was just presenting the facts.


Posted by: Nick Rau at March 6, 2007 7:29 PM

Ray....great post. I might have a few points for you to consider -

"This is nothing but advertising, one sided opinions, nobody ever disagreeing with you."

I guess as a new blogger, you may have missed the many times I argue with Gary regarding the LRC. I assume you to be new based on this fact.

"Anyway the only thing that matters is amount and type of precip. I could care less if you get the temps right or wrong a few degrees. "

If it were this easy, there would be a slew of meteorlogists out of work..namedly those you seem to respect in the NWS. Not to mention, the NSSL, SPC, NHC, shall I continue?

"I compare you all the time against NOAA, which by the way, is the ONLY place I can really get local weather without someone's rear end in front of us on the map."

Comparison...really. As you want the hard facts, your statement above begs the same. You, in turn, should be able to present the facts of your comparison to make this claim. BTW, by definition, NOAA doesn't actually do local weather..you must have meant the NWS. Oh and in mentioning the NWS for local weather, I am assuming you mean this CWA. I am assuming you understand CWA based on your local interest of the NWS...or should I just say NOAA?

"Maybe what really bugs me is that you self congratulate yourselves all the time. So do the other stations. It's bad form and bragging is distasteful in any form. Just get real!"

I do actually agree a bit with this. Understand though, as much as weather broadcasting is a service to the community, it is also a business with a great deal of revenue at stake. It is a delicate balance between weather reporting and the marketing of said accuracy to increase viewership. This will always probably be a gray area, which at times every meteorologist and associated marketing teams in town will cross here and there.

Just food for thought.

Posted by: Scott at March 6, 2007 8:27 PM


I like everything about you and your weatherteam but this darn weatherrate stuff. I still dont really trust it and believe there's many flaws with it and most logical people will see that. Of course you are going to stick up for it if you are the best forecaster (which you probably are) but I think there are too many margins for error and you and the NWS and the other media outlets are not all exactly forecasting for the exact same spot! I wish you'd keep your passion on the LRC more, winter storms, severe weather and our fascinating weather then this constant pointing to boring numbers claiming you are number 1. Its very tiresome.

You know that we will concentrate on the weather issues. It is just that the numbers just came out. And, we thought it would be fine to get the word out.

There are probably flaws in most everything, but weatherate's system works well. We have won every one of their contests before we knew they existed and then recently as well. We know that our forecasts have been the most accurate for many years. It is this system that has allowed us to prove it. Just facts. And, we invite anyone to compare the forecasts for a long period of time. We will take that challenge anytime. We may lose one week here or one week there, so I hate it when someone just chooses one week. But over the long haul we have never lost.

But, don't get too concerned. It is back to talking about our ever changing weather.


Posted by: Ken at March 6, 2007 8:39 PM

Just to throw this out there as a general statement: I find it fairly interesting that sports teams can throw their stats out there at any time and people don't think twice about it but heaven forbid a weather station throw their stats out and people call it bragging or unnecessary. Heck, look at the stock market; companies can say they're up so many points and people think that's a good thing if they own stock in it. I like to think I own personal stock in Gary's forecast so I'm happy to see the numbers are up!

Excellent point! This is a great way of looking at it. Does anyone else agree?


Posted by: Erin at March 6, 2007 8:59 PM

It is obvious you REALLY enjoy what you do and your job. It is rare in this world to be able to do what you are truly passionate about. I have nothing but praise for you and your weather team. We depend on your forecast and look forward to watching you.

I also want to thank you very much for your efforts in raising money for the Humane Society. It is nice to see someone use their time and influence for a truly worthy cause. We were happy to donate and I am glad so many others reached out the way they did. However, the most thankful of all are the animals you helped to save!

Thank you so much. This was the 7th annual pet telethon and most successful. We truly appreciate your contribution.


Posted by: Jim at March 6, 2007 9:13 PM

Hey guys! A tornado that strong in February?!? Wow. Please forgive me if this question's been asked (and I'm quite sure it's been answered and I haven't heard) but do you think we're in for an active season this year?

Oh, and I agree with Erin's stats arguement! Keep up the great work!

I think it will be more active than last year. Last year also had a booming start to severe weather season with a major outbreak in our region on March 12th. Another one in early April, then almost nothing from there. This year should have bigger moments in May and June with this same pattern cycling.


Posted by: Barbara at March 6, 2007 11:43 PM

I just wanted to compliment Scott on his post here. It was thought out, articulate and not hateful. But then I'm alittle biased cause I do enjoy reading the exchanges between Scott and Gary...lol

Putting the accuracy numbers out is no different than all the ads we the viewers are constantly seeing on TV. "Your calm before the storm", "Your most watched station", "Your #1 news station"...etc...This stuff is EVERYWHERE. And at least you guys can and would back it up. I'm not too sure how many other stations "walk the walk". I do love the comparisons to sports stats or the stock market as one blogger said. I don't think it's fair for Gary's enthusiasm and passion to be passed off as arrogance, there is a big difference.

The weather has been fantastic!!! The only bad thing is that we have itching to get out in our yard and do some "spring" stuff but know it's probably alittle too early for some things. I take it that our winter maybe dwindling away just alittle bit??

As always..you guys do a great job :)

Great post! Yes, winter has faded away. From Iowa to the North Pole they are still waiting. It is amazing how it is truly still winter and in full force just north of us. But, spring is approaching.


Posted by: Donna at March 7, 2007 7:11 AM

Good Morning Gary,

loved the beautiful weather yesterday. Even though you had predicted it to be cooler, I really didn't mind the warm up at all. :)

I heard that it has been many years since you have visited Mac Arthur Elementary School at Fort Leavenworth. Is there a chance for a visit from you sometime in the future? They would be so thrilled to have you.

If someone could just send a request to Amanda Broyles, broyles@nbcactionnews.com, then we can try to set something up! It has been a few years!


Posted by: Anjakarena at March 7, 2007 8:39 AM


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