RAPID CITY, S.D. (KOTA TV) When there is a tornado warning issued... Many of us receive those kinds of alerts.
National Weather Service issuing test Tornado Warning
But what goes on behind the scenes?
On a day where no severe weather is expected, two to three meteorologists are on staff doing their daily routine, but when severe weather is expected, more meteorologists are needed.
"It really depends on the extent of the storms, where they're affecting and how long they're lasting, but we can have, besides our regular staff of two to three people, we could have an extra four to five people," National Weather Service Rapid City meteorologist Susan Sanders said.
The extra help comes in handy because of the extent of work they need to do during severe weather.
"We have somebody who's putting out the warnings, maybe depending on again how many storms there are, two to three people doing that. We've got somebody making the notifications about the storms so our partners like emergency management and dispatchers can get those warnings out on their systems locally as well," she said
It takes a couple minutes to issue the warning.
"Everything, it goes pretty quickly once we decide to issue the warnings, but we're watching the radar all the time," Sanders said.
The program used processes the warnings and once its done, the information is looked over to make sure everything is correct.
"And another component too, isn't just what we're seeing on our work stations with the radar and satellite, but also the ground truth reports that we're getting from our spotters. That plays an important role in making warning decisions as well," she said.
Spotters help send in reports of what is actually happening with the storms.
"We're getting reports of large hail or strong straight line winds or maybe even a funnel cloud," she said.
Once warnings are issued, our First Alert Weather Team makes sure to provide you with all of the necessary information needed about the storm.