KTEN Meteorologist At Special Meeting With Oklahoma Governor - KTEN.com - No One Gets You Closer

KTEN Meteorologist Attends Special Meeting With Oklahoma Governor


DENISON, TX -- After 26 years covering weather in Oklahoma, our own Chief Meteorologist Alan Mitchell had a first, as he was invited to a meeting about weather coverage at the Oklahoma State Capitol.

Mitchell attended a special meeting with state officials to discuss how the public is warned. The items included shelters, school procedures, and messaging.

Governor Mary Fallin called the meeting in the wake of May's tornadoes near Oklahoma City. "There was a 20 to 30 minute advance warning, but still yet people were not prepared," says Mitchell.

"It is really good that all of our weather forecasters have gotten together in one room," says Governor Mary Fallin. "We want to do everything we can to help our citizens get prepared for storms, stay informed, stay calm when a storm does hit."

The Moore tornado on May 20 killed 23 people. Then just 11 days later, eight people died near El Reno, while thousands clogged the roads on a Friday afternoon trying to get away from the storm.

"If we could develop some basic playbook to work off of on a day like May 31, what are we gonna do, let's tell people the rules at 10 in the morning that day instead of waiting until the tornado warning comes out. That's what I'm looking forward to," says Rick Smith of the National Weather Service office in Norman.

"People need to have a plan of action developed in the morning time of what they're going to do maybe later in the afternoon, if you have kids at school, if you're at work. Are we going to have storm days, for instance?" says Mitchell.

While traffic was a problem in Oklahoma City, Mitchell says it may be a different situation here in Texoma.

"For instance in the Tushka tornado, the public shelter there in town, a few hundred people got into and perhaps maybe saved their lives," says Mitchell.

Mitchell says the Weather Service is also looking at changing the words they use. "They don't necessarily know yet what that would be, that's where the social scientists come in, what words what statements, what phrases do the public respond to," says Mitchell.

About a dozen broadcast meteorologists, plus state Emergency Management and Weather Service officials were there and may meet again.

Mitchell says Moore's new schools will have safe rooms, but it could cost $1 billion to outfit every school in Oklahoma.