Pat Shingleton: "The 1st Warning-67 Years Ago..."
On last night's 10 pm weather cast, I was targeting sections of the Midwest for possible hail and damaging winds. In six days, the National Weather Service will initiate Tornado Awareness Month. From April through early October many sections of the United States will experience episodes of tornadoes. Furthering Wednesday's column, Capt. Robert Miller and Maj. Ernest Fawbush believed a tornado was going to hit Tinker Air Force Base in Oklahoma 67 years ago. This event marked the first time in weather forecasting that a tornado warning was issued and by the time the two officers ended their shift, nothing happened. They believed that their analysis and previous research could have initiated a false alarm for the Air Force base and its occupants. However, between 5 p.m. and 7 p.m., a massive storm erupted with strong thunderstorms, hail and damaging winds. Just as they predicted, multiple twisters caused $6 million in damage with no injuries. The scientists proved that predictions on when a tornado could hit were possible.They made their prediction based on an archaic radar scope, climatological data, atmospheric analysis and "gut" instincts. The Air Force gave them the responsibility for severe weather forecasts for all domestic military bases. March 25, 1948, is recognized as the first tornado warning day.