Both yesterday and today I attended and volunteered at the 36th Annual National Weather Association Meeting in Birmingham, Alabama. This was the most-attended NWA meeting in history and evidence of that was clear this morning when there were no more seats for attendees! The volunteer portion of my attendance had me taking video of research posters from students and professionals for the agenda on the NWA website. While the meeting runs until Thursday, I had to leave late this afternoon to attend to class-related things back in Starkville. I wish I could've stayed longer because this was one of the best put together functions I've ever attended.
Speaking of attendance, I was able to meet quite a few experienced broadcast meteorologists while I was there. Some of those folks were Jim Cantore (The Weather Channel), Jacqui Jeras (CNN), Christie Dutton (WAVE-TV Louisville), Ryan Vaughan (KAIT-TV Jonesboro), Mary Wasson (YNN Austin), and Dave Freeman (KSNW Wichita). It was also great to see some old friends whom I've met before in Starkville at the Mississippi State Severe Storms Symposium.
There's also been talk from a lot of people suggesting the placement of GPS chips in weather radios to determine exact location so that there's even less of a chance of the radio going off for a warning that does not pertain to the user. This is also a great idea that wouldn't require terribly huge changes to radios and how warnings are issued. Overall, I gathered from today's and yesterday's presentations that more needs to be done to make severe weather warnings more accessible and understandable to the public to save lives in events like April 27th. The technology is there and the ideas are in place, and the recent tornadoes that claimed so many lives this year are proof that these changes are necessary.