Monday, March 7


National Weather Service severe hazardous weather predictions result in measurable impact saving lives Send a link to a friend

[MARCH 7, 2005] 

Hazardous weather impacts

  • U.S. fatalities due to tornadoes have decreased, from more than 110 per year in the 1950s through the 1970s, to 58 per year since the implementation of Doppler radar about 10 years ago at more than 120 National Weather Service offices across the country.

  • On average, the most weather-related fatalities over the past 30 years have been attributed to floods, with an average of 107, followed by lightning, 67; tornadoes, 65; and then hurricanes, 14.

Central-southeast Illinois severe weather statistics

  • In 2004, nearly 84 percent of all severe weather events -- damaging winds, tornadoes and large hail -- in central Illinois had advance warning by the National Weather Service in Lincoln, with an average lead time of 16 minutes.

  • Since Doppler radar has been installed at the National Weather Service in Lincoln, nearly 84 percent of all severe weather events have had advance warning, with an average lead time of 16.5 minutes (period from January 1996 to December 2004).

  • Of the top 15 counties with the most tornadoes in the state of Illinois, eight are in central Illinois: McLean, No. 1; Macon, No. 2; Logan, No. 5; Sangamon, No. 6; Coles, No. 9; Mason, No. 11; Tazewell, No. 13; and Champaign, No. 14. (Data based on tornadoes from 1950-2002, normalized to 1,000 square miles)

  • Nearly 1,850 volunteer weather spotters were trained in 30 central Illinois counties this year. More than 600 were new trainees.

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Economic impacts of weather forecasts and warnings

  • One-third percent of the U.S. gross national product (nearly $3 trillion) is affected by weather and NOAA’s National Weather Service forecasts.

  • The average U.S. household only pays about $1.08 per month for NOAA’s weather services.

  • Average annual damage from tornadoes, hurricanes and floods in the United States is $11.4 billion.

  • Economists have estimated that improved El Nino forecasts have resulted in annual savings of nearly $300 million for U.S. agriculture by altering planting decisions.

  • National Weather Service implementation of the Advanced Hydrologic Prediction System will save lives and an estimated $240 million per year in flood losses and will contribute an additional $520 million per year in economic benefits to water resource users.

Visit for the latest weather and river forecasts, warnings, current conditions, radar and satellite imagery, and climate information.

National Weather Service mission

The National Weather Service provides weather, hydrologic, and climate forecasts and warnings for the United States, its territories, adjacent waters and ocean areas, for the protection of life and property and the enhancement of the national economy. The NWS is the sole official U.S. voice for issuing warnings during life-threatening weather situations.

[Provided by Chris Miller, warning coordination meteorologist, National Weather Service-Lincoln]

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