No kudos after Joplin

In 2005, for the first time ever, there were no tornado fatalities. This was a rare bit of weather-related good news, and NPR interviewed the director of SPC about it.  Was it because tornado predictions were so much better? Joe Schaefer demurred, giving credit to Mother Nature. But I, at least, internalized the unspoken assumption and was terribly disheartened after the Alabama outbreak.

Forget about reversion to the mean -- 2011 has been a drastic swing the other way. Fatalities have also been concentrated outside of what we would normally regard as tornado alley.

The WDSS-II rotation tracks output became so popular during and after the Tuscaloosa outbreak that people took photographs with a printout of the rotation tracks as backdrop. (There's one Congressman, one political appointee and several weather forecasters in the picture, but none of these people are from NSSL or OU)
With the tornado in Joplin yesterday taking out 79 lives, I went back to look at the rotation tracks, and what was there was completely unimpressive. No one's going to be using this data as a backdrop, that's for sure.
We have to analyze it before we know why ... More work to do!

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