May 1, 2023

Young, Wicker Introduce TORNADO Act to Improve Severe Weather Forecasting

WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Senators Todd Young (R-Ind.) and Roger Wicker (R-Miss.) reintroduced the Tornado Observation Research Notification and Deployment to Operations (TORNADO) Act to improve the forecasting and understanding of tornadoes and other hazardous weather. The TORNADO Act would require the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) to update its methods for predicting and communicating weather alerts to residents.

“In recent months, severe weather has tragically taken the lives of Hoosiers and devastated several Indiana communities. While we can’t prevent these storms from occurring, the TORNADO Act would improve severe weather forecasting, notifying the public faster and allowing Hoosiers to find safety more quickly,” said Senator Young.

“Even when tornadoes are well-forecasted, warnings do not always provide enough lead time to ensure the public can respond or seek appropriate shelter. The federal government has a vested interest in making sure Americans have as much notice as possible of severe weather,” said Senator Wicker. “The TORNADO Act would improve the forecasting and understanding of these natural disasters so we can prevent future loss of life and property.”

The reintroduction of the legislation follows a particularly active start to tornado season, which included a series of storms in Indiana.

The goal of the TORNADO Act would be to require NOAA to implement new technology and procedures that could help increase the lead times provided to the public in advance of extreme weather events.

Among other provisions, the TORNADO Act would:

  1. Require NOAA to prepare and submit an action plan for the national implementation of high-resolution probabilistic guidance for tornado forecasting and prediction.

  2. Encourage NOAA to evaluate the current tornado rating system and make updates.

  3. Mandate NOAA to coordinate with appropriate entities when conducting post-storm assessments to optimize data collection, sharing, and integration.

Full bill text can be found here.