Anna Answers: What is a storm damage survey?

Weather Wisdom

Question: When meteorologists do a storm damage survey, what does that mean?

Since it has been an active weather week in the Twin Tiers some people have maybe heard the term storm damage survey used a few times. A storm damage survey is a term often used in the meteorological community, especially by National Weather Service Meteorologists.

A storm damage survey is a survey that National Weather Meteorologists perform to classify what sort of weather happened during a weather event, mostly to classify if it was a tornado. When people report storm damage, it is logged as a local storm report. When evidence of severe damage is present, and it is consistent with what could be a tornado, it is investigated.

The team of meteorologists performs the survey to gather data. If they assessing damage from a potential tornado, they are trying to reconstruct the potential tornado’s life cycle such as its path, where it touched down, how long it was on the ground, and magnitude. A storm damage survey can also be completed to classify whether a tornado was present or if it was straight-line winds and the magnitude of the winds (National Weather Service).

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