Technical glitch delayed weather warnings during Iowa tornado outbreak

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The National Weather Service said a technical issue delayed some aspects of the storm response by minutes. A tornado ripped through southeast Polk County on Saturday. The damage it left is a powerful reminder of the importance of a tornado warning – when seconds count. Daryl Herzmann is a systems analyst at Iowa State University. He says he noticed delays of several minutes between when the National Weather Service issued a tornado warning and when it actually received it. — reaching nearly seven minutes at worst,” Herzmann said. traced to a “damaged fiber optic cable” on a network hub in Texas. The National Weather Service says it issued early warnings to make up for the delay – giving a delay of 20 minutes, double the national average. Herzmann says the nature of the storm and the weather service’s proactive efforts gave people plenty of time to seek shelter. “They were giving active alerts to their partners that, you know, things like delayed warnings were coming in for certain areas. So there’s a lot of great cooperation happening here in Iowa and elsewhere during these active weather situations,” Herzmann said. Herzmann says that’s just one example of why it’s important to have multiple options when expecting tornado warnings. He says to listen for sirens, get a weather radio, and watch live messaging through apps and social media.

The National Weather Service says a technical issue delayed some aspects of the storm response by minutes.

A tornado ripped through southeast Polk County on Saturday. The damage it left is a powerful reminder of the importance of a tornado warning – when seconds count.

Daryl Herzmann is a systems analyst at Iowa State University. He says he noticed delays of several minutes between when the National Weather Service issued a tornado warning and when it actually received it.

“The latencies continued to build as this issue persisted. And peaking, unfortunately, at a significant time during the tornadoes near Winterset — reaching almost seven minutes at the worst,” Herzmann said.

The National Weather Service confirms that there has been “a 2-7 minute delay in communications transmissions to certain platforms, including weather.gov and wireless emergency alerts.”

They say the backlog was attributed to “damaged fiber optic cable” at a network hub in Texas.

The National Weather Service says it issued warnings early to make up for the delay – giving a 20-minute delay, double the national average.

Herzmann says the nature of the storm and the weather service’s proactive efforts gave people plenty of time to seek shelter.

“They were giving active alerts to their partners that, you know, things like delayed warnings were coming in for certain areas. So there’s a lot of great cooperation happening here in Iowa and elsewhere during these active weather situations,” Herzmann said.

Herzmann says that’s just one example of why it’s important to have multiple options when waiting for tornado warnings. He says to listen for sirens, get a weather radio, and watch live messaging through apps and social media.


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