bigb
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Tornado Warnings And Major Airport Operations

Sat Apr 23, 2011 3:01 pm

With a tornado hitting KSTL last night. This event has raised a series of questions in my mind about airport operations. Do airports have a plan in place for whenever a tornado warning is issued for passengers? I wonder if airports like DFW and ORD have a plan in place because these airports are located in a region that see Tornadoes very often. For example, a tornado warning was issued far advance prior till a tornado hit Lambert field but people were told to head to ground level right as the tornado hit.

Luckly, this tornado was not a EF5 or esle it would have been too late for a lot of those folks. I like to hear thoughts and opinions.
ETSN Baber, USN
 
nkops
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RE: Tornado Warnings And Major Airport Operations

Sat Apr 23, 2011 3:22 pm

A plan is usually set up in the Emergency Procedures Manual... for instance, in case of tornado warning , airport ops makes announcement for all passengers to stay clear of windows , and all emergency personnel are advised of warning (ARFF, police, etc.). Airlines are also told about watches and warnings so they can secure ground equip (in case of a watch) and other loose objects to prevent as much debris as possible.
:evil:
 
dumbell2424
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RE: Tornado Warnings And Major Airport Operations

Sat Apr 23, 2011 4:19 pm

The saddest part is that NWS is not allowed to tell ATC about tornado warnings per FAA rules
 
corey07850
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RE: Tornado Warnings And Major Airport Operations

Sat Apr 23, 2011 4:32 pm

Quoting dumbell2424 (Reply 2):
The saddest part is that NWS is not allowed to tell ATC about tornado warnings per FAA rules

Why might that be?
 
blueflyer
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RE: Tornado Warnings And Major Airport Operations

Sat Apr 23, 2011 4:33 pm

On the passenger side, there are signs throughout DFW's terminals indicating that restrooms do double-duty as tornado-safe shelters.
Recep Tayyip Erdoğan has no clothes.
 
Maverick623
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RE: Tornado Warnings And Major Airport Operations

Sat Apr 23, 2011 6:39 pm

Quoting BigB (Thread starter):
Do airports have a plan in place for whenever a tornado warning is issued for passengers? I wonder if airports like DFW and ORD have a plan in place because these airports are located in a region that see Tornadoes very often.

Airports and airlines are required to have an emergency manual covering everything from severe weather to a public health quarantine.

Quoting BigB (Thread starter):
a tornado warning was issued far advance prior till a tornado hit Lambert field but people were told to head to ground level right as the tornado hit.

I mentioned this in another thread, and obviously there's going to be a review and report about the response, but as somebody who has witnessed an actual "out-of-nowhere" event throw airplanes around and blow out windows (a microburst), this looks like a serious failure to follow any sort of procedure, especially given that there was plenty of advanced warning.

Quoting dumbell2424 (Reply 2):
The saddest part is that NWS is not allowed to tell ATC about tornado warnings per FAA rules

I don't know where you heard this, but that's not accurate. The NWS publishes an alert, passes it to the FAA, who in turn puts it in the METAR and TAF. There's no direct link from the NWS office to the tower, obviously, but to suggest their warnings are essentially ignored is absolutely false.
"PHX is Phoenix, PDX is the other city" -777Way
 
dumbell2424
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RE: Tornado Warnings And Major Airport Operations

Sun Apr 24, 2011 1:31 am

Quoting Maverick623 (Reply 5):
I don't know where you heard this, but that's not accurate. The NWS publishes an alert, passes it to the FAA, who in turn puts it in the METAR and TAF. There's no direct link from the NWS office to the tower, obviously, but to suggest their warnings are essentially ignored is absolutely false.

I dunno, just found it here, I guess it's accuracy can be disputed, but just what I read

http://meteorologicalmusings.blogspo...m/2011/04/miracle-in-st-louis.html
 
N243NW
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RE: Tornado Warnings And Major Airport Operations

Sun Apr 24, 2011 5:57 am

One of the things I noticed that was most interesting was the fact that the airplanes were either being boarded during the half-hour-long tornado warning or had been sitting at the gate loaded with pax waiting for the storm to blow over before pushing back. Wouldn't it make sense for airline personnel to offload all aircraft during a tornado warning, seeing as it's a much safer option than letting them sit in an exposed aircraft that won't be going anywhere until the storm passes anyway?  
B-52s don't take off. They scare the ground away.
 
ImperialEagle
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RE: Tornado Warnings And Major Airport Operations

Sun Apr 24, 2011 10:54 am

Quoting Maverick623 (Reply 5):
looks like a serious failure to follow any sort of procedure, especially given that there was plenty of advanced warning.
Quoting N243NW (Reply 7):
Wouldn't it make sense for airline personnel to offload all aircraft during a tornado warning, seeing as it's a much safer option than letting them sit in an exposed aircraft that won't be going anywhere until the storm passes anyway?

That's what I'm thinking. Can you imagine the carnage if a fully loaded aircraft were swept into the air an then dumped to the ground. It's not like it might just be able to glide it's way back down. Major parts of the aircraft could be torn off and/or damaged, etc. Not going to be good in any event. Even worse, an airport with the layout of ATL and a tornado passes between a couple of airside terminals during a busy period and lots of aircraft full of pax. etc. Not good!
"If everything seems under control, you're just not going fast enough!"
 
Maverick623
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RE: Tornado Warnings And Major Airport Operations

Mon Apr 25, 2011 1:55 am

Quoting dumbell2424 (Reply 6):

I dunno, just found it here, I guess it's accuracy can be disputed, but just what I read

Understood.

I strongly dispute the accuracy of his statements. The blogger you linked is a scaremonger trying to hawk his book.

Tornado warnings (based on a visual or radar data of a funnel cloud/hook echo) are denoted in METARS as FC. KSTLs METAR for the hour that the storm hit the airport included +FC.

Where else would they get that info besides the NWS?

Quoting N243NW (Reply 7):
Wouldn't it make sense for airline personnel to offload all aircraft during a tornado warning,

Yup, which is why this will get a lot of scrutiny. They had ample warning that, even if the tornado didn't hit the airport, the downdrafts associated with it can still pack a wallop.
"PHX is Phoenix, PDX is the other city" -777Way
 
N243NW
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RE: Tornado Warnings And Major Airport Operations

Mon Apr 25, 2011 4:46 am

Quoting Maverick623 (Reply 9):
Where else would they get that info besides the NWS?

Especially if the tornado was rain-wrapped, which sounds like the case. Plus, even if they could have seen it from the tower, there's a good chance that they had at least evacuated to a level below the tower cab without windows.
B-52s don't take off. They scare the ground away.
 
rwessel
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Joined: Tue Jan 16, 2007 3:47 pm

RE: Tornado Warnings And Major Airport Operations

Tue Apr 26, 2011 1:55 am

Quoting blueflyer (Reply 4):
On the passenger side, there are signs throughout DFW's terminals indicating that restrooms do double-duty as tornado-safe shelters.

Same thing in DEN.
 
pilotpip
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RE: Tornado Warnings And Major Airport Operations

Wed Apr 27, 2011 9:05 pm

Quoting N243NW (Reply 7):
One of the things I noticed that was most interesting was the fact that the airplanes were either being boarded during the half-hour-long tornado warning or had been sitting at the gate loaded with pax waiting for the storm to blow over before pushing back. Wouldn't it make sense for airline personnel to offload all aircraft during a tornado warning, seeing as it's a much safer option than letting them sit in an exposed aircraft that won't be going anywhere until the storm passes anyway?

Short answer, no.

Long answer, no. Having ramp personel on a ramp during a thunderstorm is much more dangerous. The aircraft is grounded and it takes a lot more than a 130mph windgust to flip a plane. It might move out on the ramp but flipping is far less likely. More likely would be somebody being injured when the plane is blown away from the jetbridge as was the case with a 757 in STL. The likelyhood of passengers being injured in the terminal by flying debris is much higher than being injured sitting on an aircraft out in the middle of the ramp.

St. Louis county has a policy of issuing a tornado warning when any county touching it has one. This inculdes those to the east. I spent many summers there on a sunny ramp without a cloud anywhere within 40 miles listening to tonado sirens or hearing them 30 minutes after the storm passed.
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