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What We Learned As Meteorologists From April 27, 2011

April 27, 2011 was a devastating event that took over 250 lives in the state of Alabama, but it also taught us something.

HUNTSVILLE, Ala. — On April 27, 2011, 39 tornadoes would move through the Tennessee Valley in three distinct rounds of severe weather. There would be 3 EF-5 tornadoes all of which occurred during the final round of severe weather that Tuesday evening. 

Nearly 100 people would lose their lives in the Tennessee Valley. 35 of them lived in DeKalb County. 253 people in the entire state of Alabama would lose their lives and at least 2092 injuries would occur. These are deaths and injuries just as a direct result of the tornadoes. 

Despite all of that death and destruction, we as meteorologists and a weather enterprise learned something. What we learned will not only help us to be better meteorologists, but almost more importantly we learned how to be better communicators. 

Jessica Chace the Warning Coordination Meteorologist at the National Weather Service Office in Huntsville says that as Meteorologists we learned how to check and see how our messaging is being perceived. We want the delivered message to be received the way it's intended. 

Don't Look At Past Events

Chace also reminds us that despite the damage that April 27, 2011 did to us both physically, and mentally we can't use past events to gauge future events. Chace says "Don't look at previous events as your marker for whether you should take warnings seriously. Every tornado is a threat to life and property."