TORNADO Act passes through Senate Committee

Published 3:31 pm Thursday, May 11, 2023

U.S. Sen. Roger Wicker, R-Miss., on Wednesday praised the passage of the Tornado Observation Research Notification and Deployment to Operations (TORNADO) Act through the Senate Committee on Commerce, Science and Transportation.

Authored by Wicker, the TORNADO Act would improve the forecasting and understanding of tornadoes and other hazardous weather by requiring the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) to update its methods for predicting and communicating weather alerts to residents.

“I introduced the TORNADO Act to help protect against future loss of life and property,” Wicker said.“Improved forecasting is the best way to give residents more time to seek shelter. I appreciate my colleagues for seeing the value in this legislation, and I look forward to earning the support of the rest of the Senate.”

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Wicker introduced the TORNADO Act in the 117th Congress and reintroduced it in the wake of a particularly active start to tornado season, which included a series of devastating tornadoes in Mississippi.

Among other provisions, the TORNADO Act would:

  • Require NOAA to prepare and submit an action plan for the national implementation of high-resolution probabilistic guidance for tornado forecasting and prediction.
  • Encourage NOAA to evaluate the current tornado rating system and make updates.
  • Require NOAA to coordinate with appropriate entities when conducting post-storm assessments to optimize data collection, sharing, and integration.

The bipartisan legislation was cosponsored by U.S. Senators Ted Cruz, R-Texas, John Thune, R-S.D., Chuck Grassley, R-Iowa, Cindy Hyde-Smith, R-Miss., Todd Young, R-Ind., Marsha Blackburn, R-Tenn., John Boozman, R-Ark., and Gary Peters, D-Mich.

The full text of the bill can be found here.