HUNTSVILLE, Ala. (WHNT) – Dave Nadler, warning coordination meteorologist for the National Weather Service, sat down with WHNT News 19's Steve Johnson on Leadership Perspectives recently to talk about storm prediction in north Alabama.
Nadler works with meteorologists throughout the Tennessee Valley to determine weather warnings and severe outbreaks. He monitors forecasts from the National Weather Service and local forecast centers in the area. Nadler has been a meteorologist for 15 years.
"The focus is the local expertise," Nadler said. "It's not that Birmingham can't forecast for north Alabama, or Nashville can't forecast for southern Tennessee. It comes down to how much of an emphasis are you going to put on a specific area."
He said a forecast center in Huntsville allows residents to have a more detailed forecast from people in the area, instead of a forecast from meteorologists in a larger city. The Huntsville office has about 15 certified meteorologists.
"We are sort of behind the scenes," Nadler said. "We are interrogating radar, satellite, any weather remote sensors to determine if a severe weather warning needs to be issued."
Nadler said the biggest difference between his work and WHNT News 19's meteorologists is that he is not in front of the camera relaying the latest weather to the viewers.
Nadler explains progression in weather technology allows meteorologists to see into storm clouds in vivid detail to craft a specific forecast for viewers. Nadler said the goal is warn the public of a tornado at least before the storm hits the area. Radar technology allows the NWS team to predict storms more accurately and specifically.
He said technology will be used to advance predictions.
"It's up to the meteorologists to keep the public, keep everyone up to date with the warnings," Nadler said.
Each storm warning has specific criteria it must meet before the National Weather Service labels it as severe.
Nadler explained the importance of the public's understanding of the weather warnings. He said a severe thunderstorm can be just as dangerous as a tornado in certain circumstances.
He said when a weather warning is issued, it should be taken seriously. He explained the importance of staying up to date with the latest information released by meteorologists.
"We aren't going to stop people from taking a picture or video of something that's happening," Nadler said. "We hope that people have enough sense when they know weather is threatening to take corrective action, which is proper shelter."
Nadler said his goal is the protection of life and property through storm prediction.