WASHINGTON (AP) - Sometimes in forecasting tornadoes you can get everything technically right, and yet it all goes horribly wrong.
Three days before the killer Alabama tornado struck, government severe-storm meteorologists cautioned that conditions could be ripe for twisters on Sunday. Then, an hour before the tragedy, they warned that a strong tornado could occur in two particular Alabama counties within 30 to 60 minutes.
And that's what happened. Yet 23 people died.
Colorado State University meteorology professor Russ Schumacher says to a meteorologist, the forecast was the equivalent of a hole-in-one. But with the deaths, he asks if it was a success, a failure or both.
Predicting with any precision where a tornado is going to go is still beyond the limits of meteorology. And getting people to listen and take precautions is another matter altogether.