November 20th, 2013 15:46 EST
Have You Ever Heard of a Tornado in November?
This weekend, a rash of tornadoes tore through the American heartland. By some estimates, it was one of the most severe, furthest north, latest in the year tornado outbreaks of the last sixty years in the United States.
Among the northern fringe of the tornado swarm was a storm that stopped just a few miles shy of Chicago`s outer expressway ring. At that exact moment, in downtown Chicago, the city was hosting an outdoor professional football game with around 60,000 people in attendance. The stadium hastily evacuated fans as hurricane-like conditions - 70 mph winds and powerful lightning - rattled the city and forced people to take shelter.
With a world-class system of weather radars, pretty much everyone that was paying attention knew these storms were coming. It`s an extremely rare case these days where a tornado touches down outside of an official warning in the United States. A rapid advance in weather forecasting technology has made this possible.
Legend has it, during the first half of the last century, weather forecasters were prohibited from using the word `tornado` in official statements, so as to not incite a panic. My how times have changed.
Here`s a map showing the government`s large-scale tornado outlook (issued 6-12 hours before Sunday`s tornado outbreak got underway), overlaid with where the storms actually occurred:
It`s a nearly perfect match.
In an era of changing climate and increasingly extreme weather, the whole world deserves this kind of forecast accuracy. And quite simply, it just doesn`t exist.
That`s why we`re here.
Weathermob`s big idea is to collect the world`s weather through crowdsourcing. We are currently active in over 135 countries with about a quarter of a million people participating.
We consider each of our reporters as the potential to be a human weather station - but also so much more. That`s because Weathermob cares about the human side of weather, the way an automated machine will never be able to capture. That`s some serious potential for reshaping the face of weather forecasting as we know it.
With this data - these human weather stories - we can also improve weather forecasting. We can be a game changer: give people better predictions, more certainty, and more warning of dangerous extreme weather that currently don`t have access to it.
But we can`t do it without data, and that means we can do it without you.
Yes, you. (The person thumb-scrolling through this email on your smartphone.)
Share Weathermob with a friend today, and tell them they`re saving the world. It`s true.
For more information: www.weathermob.com