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While it may seem like the city of Springfield is still recovering from January's ice storm, Mother Nature proved last week she doesn't follow a timetable.
So, to see what local authorities are doing to prepare for tornado season, KSMU's Matt Petcoff visited the Springfield branch of the National Weather Service...
As you look up into the dark, menacing clouds of a thunderstorm and hear the loud screeching of tornado sirens, you may not realize the decision making process that led to that alarm may have begun hours, even days before that moment.
Steve Runnels is the warning coordination meteorologist with the National Weather Service in Springfield.
Last week the National Weather Service was watching the skies before any severe weather moved into the area on Wednesday...
And, to help meteorologists like Runnels better predict and prepare for severe weather, the National Weather Service Weather Forecast Office in Springfield is armed with the latest technology.
As you drive out to the forecast center, it's impossible to miss the Doppler radar station which resembles a small water tower.
And, when you get inside the forecast center itself, computer screens outnumber people about 10 to 1.
Runnels says some of the information displayed on those screens comes from a weather balloon which is sent up twice a day.
When severe weather is detected, or at least anticipated, a list of things happen before you hear there's a tornado warning.
Runnels says the first thing that catches the attention of a meteorologist is a hook-echo on the radar, resembling the shape of the letter "c" which often means there's rotation.
He says they analyze the radar data along with satellite information and, if necessary, make the announcement of a tornado warning.
One of the organizations that receives these warnings is the Springfield-Greene County Office of Emergency Management.
This is the organization in charge of activating tornado sirens for all of Springfield and much of the other areas in Greene County.
Ryan Nichols is the Director of the Office of Emergency Management.
He says there are two instances when the sirens will be activated.
Runnels also reiterated the importance of local spotters to the tornado warning process.
The Weather Service trains spotters each year and he says they act as the Weather Services' eyes in the field often confirming what the Doppler radar displays.