Do Tornado Watches Save Lives?

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By Sarah Cantey

 Tornado warnings save lives. One study co-published by a Troy University Professor says the numbers prove that, but what about tornado watches?

 
A tornado warning is issued when the danger is imminent, while a watch is issued when the ingredients are in place but there's no immediate threat. 
 
In a study co-written by Troy University Professor Dr. Dan Sutter, researchers tried to see if tornado watches provided any additional life-saving effects. They couldn't find data to support that. 
 
They analyzed data from more than 20-thousand tornadoes over a 20 year period. Dr. Sutter hopes the findings will help the weather service on where to focus their resources. 
 
Charles Koch Professor of Economics Dr. Dan Sutter said, "Whether we want to improve the watches in the near term, maybe warnings or convective outlooks may be more valuable. Provide more of a bang for the buck, be able to save more lives than an improvement in tornado watches."
 
This study only looked at the numbers, meaning no surveys were done to hear what the public does during a tornado watch. So the exact reasons behind these findings are still up in the air. 


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