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Natural Hazards

, Volume 66, Issue 1, pp 117–137 | Cite as

Comparison of the Canadian and US tornado detection and warning systems

  • Samanthi W. Durage
  • S. C. WirasingheEmail author
  • Janaka Ruwanpura
Original Paper

Abstract

Tornadoes are one of the most powerful and destructive weather events. The frequency of tornado occurrence is highest in North America, especially in the US Canada is second only to the US, and approximately, 80 occurrences are reported annually. Communities are impacted only when and if a tornado touches down on the ground. Early recognition of tornadoes and proper communication of warnings in the pre-touchdown phase helps the public to be ready and respond appropriately and effectively. Given that tornadoes are hard to predict and the warnings give only a very brief window of opportunity to prepare for evacuation to a secure underground or other location, each activity in the detection and warning phases is critically important. This study is focused on conducting a detailed comparison of the tornado detection and warning systems in the US and Canada. The sequences of activities and their interrelationships in the tornado detection and warning systems of each country are identified and developed as networks. A detection and warning network for Canada is developed, using Calgary as a case study, whereas a separate network is developed for the US, showing how local residents receive tornado warnings initiated by a local weather forecast office. Moreover, collaborating partners are identified, and their involvement at each level of the information flow is recognized. The two networks are compared and critically analyzed, focusing on the key issues, such as prediction/detection capabilities, warning decision-making, warning dissemination methods, and the spotters’ role. This qualitative comparison supports the recognition of key areas that need to be considered in improving the tornado detection and warning system in Canada.

Keywords

Tornadoes Canada US Detection Warning Comparison 

Notes

Acknowledgments

The authors wish to acknowledge the assistance of the Calgary Emergency Management Agency (particularly Chief Bruce Burrell), the Prairie and Arctic Storm Prediction Center, USA Storm Prediction Center and the Weather Forecast Office - Norman, Oklahoma, in conducting this research.

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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2012

Authors and Affiliations

  • Samanthi W. Durage
    • 1
  • S. C. Wirasinghe
    • 1
    Email author
  • Janaka Ruwanpura
    • 1
  1. 1.Schulich School of EngineeringUniversity of CalgaryCalgaryCanada

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