Published: 2009-02-22 12:02:56
Updated: 2009-02-22 12:02:56
Posted February 22, 2009
By Mike Moss
A question that comes up from time to time among our viewers and site visitors goes very much like this one from Cecelia Lamont - "On Wednesday, December 10, Thursday, December 11, 2008 a tornado warning was issued for Franklin County (Louisburg area). I was wondering if you had a copy of that warning you could send me." While we don't have a long-term archive of historical warnings on hand here in the WeatherCenter, there is a very nice resource for just that kind of information, which can come in handy if you are working on an insurance claim, doing storm research, or just interested in how a severe weather event played out.
The site in question is hosted by the Iowa State University Department of Agronomy, and is called the IEM (Iowa Environmental Mesonet) COW Storm-based Warning Verification project. It isn't just for Iowa, though - you can look up past warnings issued by any National Weather Service Office in the country. In the case of Cecelia's question, that led me to a specific address for that particular storm, for a tornado warning issued for parts of Franklin and Warren counties. Here is the address for details on that particular storm:
More generally, if you would ever like to hunt up information on a warning, the main page for the site is linked in the "On the Web" section of this post. When you go there, you will find boxes that allow you to set a start and finish time/date for a window in which to list warnings, as well as boxes that allow you to specify which kinds of warnings and reports to provide, and which weather service office to check. Around here, that will usually be RAH, for the Raleigh office. Then click the "Go COW Go" (they do have a sense of humor!) button and you will find lots of useful information, including the text of any warnings, updates and cancellations, graphics showing radar imagery with the warning areas outlined, and access to any Local Storm Reports detailing damages or storm-related observations (such as peak wind gusts or hail sizes) that assist in verifying the impact of the storm. All in all, a very nicely done site.