NWS: 30 percent of tornadoes are undetected - WNEM TV 5

NWS: 30 percent of tornadoes are undetected

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A severe thunderstorm warning was the only notification an EF-1 tornado was on a collision course last Sunday with the village of Owendale.

Rich Pollman is the warning coordination meteorologist for the National Weather Service office outside Detroit.

"Every severe thunderstorm warning that we issue has the potential to push over shallow rooted trees. When that starts happening, it can be a life threatening event," Pollman said.

TV5 went to work asking the tough questions to find out why a tornado warning was never issued.

Their office warned of winds in excess of 70 mph before the storm hit, but never specifically issued a tornado warning,

"There is a section of tornadoes that develop very quickly in the low level of storms. Hard to detect on radar. As they form, they form at the ground as well as the cloud base at the same time," Pollman said.

As it turns out, a tornado warning not getting issued in time is more common than you think.

The National Weather Service estimates only 70 percent of tornadoes occur in a warning area, which leaves 30 percent like the Owendale tornado.

However, even non-tornadic thunderstorms should not be taken lightly.In fact, they caused more than six times the amount of deaths that tornadoes did since 1993.

"A weak tornado and strong severe thunderstorm winds produce the same amount of damage," Pollman said.

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