This whole issue about UNCW issuing a tornado warning while the NWS did not boils down to one thing... You don't want to desensitize people with warnings about things that don't warrant it. There's not a turf war going on between the NWS and anyone else. They watch storm cells from cradle to grave - all they do is weather - and likely dismissed that one as being any type of threat long before anyone outdoors even noticed it. The Doppler radar calls attention to suspicious rotation. This was not some supercell outbreak where there possible candidates all over the place.
Nowadays, since they don't even need to record the voices for warnings, the total time between the meteorologist on Gardner Drive making the call that the cell warrants a warning, and the weather radios sounding an alert is less than 20 seconds including the time for the data bursts over the air triggering the radio. There are ways for entities like UNCW to even allow for the NWS to sound the alarm on campus with no manual interaction.
As a trained spotter, you learn that there's a very narrow definition of what a tornado is, and this did not fit the bill. There's been no reports of damage from that storm cell. There's not one tornado in any of the scary looking cloud formations on this page: http://www.stormeyes.org/tornado/faq/notahose.htm
If UNCW, the NWS, or anyone else issues a tornado warning, you would expect people to immediately find their way to the appropriate place within the proper buildings - NOT to go look to see if there's really a tornado coming. Just like when a fire alarm goes off, you expect people to leave the building. If the fire alarm system keeps sounding for no reason, as happened yesterday with the tornado warning, people start getting into the habit of ignoring the alerts.
The NWS offers spotter training to help them be the eyes on the ground. Here's a list of upcoming sessions http://www.erh.noaa.gov/ilm/skywarnspotter/
BTW: I have no connection to NWS, UNCW, or any county, state or local government. I am just one of the many people locally that have a better understanding of the weather we encounter due to the training that NWS offers.
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