In Brief

Pres. Obama Thanks Tornado Forecasters in Oklahoma

moore tornado, tornado damage, natural disasters, oklahoma tornado damage, president obama
President Barack Obama greets tornado forecasters from NOAA Storm Prediction Center in Norman, Okla., on the tarmac at Tinker Air Force Base in Oklahoma, before his departure, May 26, 2013. (Image credit: Official White House Photo by Chuck Kennedy.)

During his tour of the damage wrought by a massive EF5 twister to the Oklahoma City suburb of Moore on May 26, President Barack Obama met with forecasters from the National Weather Service office and Storm Prediction Center in Norman to thank them for their efforts in getting the warning out about the tornado.

Forecasters in both offices had been warning area residents for several days that conditions were developing for major severe weather, including possible tornadoes, and reminding citizens on proper tornado safety. When the supercell thunderstorm that spawned the tornado was bearing down on Moore, forecasters issued a tornado warning 16 minutes before the tornado even formed. The average tornado warning in the United States is 13 minutes. [Moore, Okla. Tornado FAQ]

"From the forecasters who issued the warnings, to the first responders who dug through the rubble, to the teachers who shielded with their own bodies their students, Oklahomans ha ve inspired us with their love and their courage and their fellowship," Obama said at a press conference earlier that day, according to NOAA's Weather Ready Nation website. White House Principal Deputy Press Secretary Josh Earnest also praised the research done by government scientists that has helped lead to advances in weather and tornado forecasting.

Obama met with the forecasters at nearby Tinker Air Force Base, where the very first tornado forecast was made in 1948.

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Andrea Thompson
Live Science Contributor

Andrea Thompson is an associate editor at Scientific American, where she covers sustainability, energy and the environment. Prior to that, she was a senior writer covering climate science at Climate Central and a reporter and editor at Live Science, where she primarily covered Earth science and the environment. She holds a graduate degree in science health and environmental reporting from New York University, as well as a bachelor of science and and masters of science in atmospheric chemistry from the Georgia Institute of Technology.