Historical View of Predicting Tornadoes

The first Operational Tornado Forecast occurred at the Tinker Air Force Base Weather Station in Oklahoma on March 25, 1948. Air Force Captain Robert C. Miller and Major Ernest J. Fawbush correctly predicted that the atmospheric conditions they were monitoring, indicated an approaching tornado. This “advance” warning allowed them to notify the base and the surrounding area. Armed with warning, Tinker AFB residents were able to take cover. As a result, injuries were few, and there were no fatalities.   

Today weather radar watches the sky.   

In 1988, the National Weather Service Forecast Office in Norman, Oklahoma, began the first operational test of Doppler weather radar called the WSR-88D. Over the years the National Weather Service has strategically placed Doppler radar systems across the country in an attempt to study the phenomenon of tornado formations. This advanced warning system detects the increasing rotation aloft within a thunderstorm and relays information to local meteorologists who are able to issue life-saving warnings to the public.

Return to the Safety Resource Center