Go to this comic explanation
Title text: Kind of rude of them to simultaneously issue an EVACUATION - IMMEDIATE alert, a SHELTER IN PLACE alert, and a 911 TELEPHONE OUTAGE alert.
|| This explanation may be incomplete or incorrect: Created by a NWS EMPLOYEE THAT REALLY NEEDED A BREAK. Do NOT delete this tag too soon.|
The National Weather Service (NWS) is a United States federal agency that is tasked with issuing national weather forecasts and extreme weather alerts.
This comic portrays the NWS as a person that needs breaks, which is absurd, as it is an important service and would probably always have staff active, even on holidays. For example, the NWS continued to work during federal government shutdowns, as it was considered an essential service for the protection of life and property. Even if one of the NWS's 122 local weather offices were to be incapacitated, contingency plans are in place to ensure that nearby offices act as emergency cover; as happened in March 2019 with flooding in Nebraska forcing the NWS office in Valley to evacuate.
Regardless, in this comic the NWS has decided to take a break, and so has opted to issue every extreme weather alert possible for the entire contiguous portion of the United States (including DC, but not Alaska or Hawaii) to make sure no one is caught by surprise by extreme weather, since the NWS will not be able to issue warnings. As the NWS could not be sure which areas will need to get warned of severe incidents, the NWS has decided to issue warning polygons that cover the entire United States (except Alaska and Hawaii). A layer of humor is that this would necessitate warnings where they would be highly unlikely to occur in real life; examples include issuing blizzard warnings for Florida, where any amount of snow is rare, and tsunami warnings for areas very far from any ocean coastline.
The title text mentions how some of the warnings that have been issued require action to get to safety that contradicts the other warnings, for example, an evacuation warning and a shelter in place order, since doing one would mean failing to do the other. This confusing scenario would likely prompt many concerned citizens to call emergency services for clarification, but the 911 outage alert would advise against this, adding another layer to the absurdity of the occurrence of the NWS taking a break.
This comic was likely inspired by the heat wave that impacted two-thirds of the US for more than a week.
Here is the table of the reasons in the background:
||A Tornado warning is issued for an area if a tornado is radar indicated, radar confirmed, or members of the public confirm the existence of a funnel cloud or a tornado. As tornadoes are more apt to form in different parts of the country at different times a country-wide tornado warning would be highly unlikely.
||The NWS does not issue cold warnings. As the text is cut off, Randall probably means Extreme Cold Warning, which the NWS offices in Alaska issue. This implies that the entire U.S. will get colder. This does not make sense, partly because in the time this comic was released, it was summer in the U.S., but also because Alaska, the one state that does receive this type of warning, is not shown.
|Red flag warning
||A red flag warning means that conditions are favorable for the rapid spread of wildfires. While there are very few areas immune to wildfires, one that encompasses the entire country would be unlikely unless a conflagration of epic magnitude swept through the country.
|Radiological hazard warning
||A radiological hazard warning is a non-weather event that is transmitted by the NWS. This means that a radiological source was lost, discovered, or released accidentally or maliciously. If the entire country were under such a warning, the outlook for the citizens would be pretty grim.
|| This transcript is incomplete. Please help editing it! Thanks.
[Title in frame]
Alert: Everyone Just Keep An Eye Out In General
[A map of the 48 contiguous states of the United States, surrounded by several warning polygons that cover most or all of the area, along with parts of neighboring countries or the sea.]
[The following warning headers are printed in different colors around the map of the United States, some of which are cut off by the frame. Assumptions about text outside of the frame are given in parentheses]
Gale Warning, Tornado Warning, Flash Flood Warning, Air Quality (Alert)
Frost Advisory, Severe Thunderstorm Warning, Dense Fog Advisory
(Hurricane Force W)ind Watch, Tropical Storm Warning, Ice Stor(m Warning)
(Extreme Cold) Warning, Heat A(dvisory)
(Flood) Advisory, Snow (Squall Warning)
(Storm Surge) Warning, Brisk W(ind Advisory)
(Lake Effect Snow) Watch, Coastal Fl(ood Advisory)
Dense Smo(ke Advisory)
(Severe Weather Sta)tement, Gale War(ning)
(Lakeshore Flood) Advisory, Wind Chill Ad(visory)
(Extreme) Cold Warning, Blizzard Warn(ing)
Hurricane Warning, Extreme Fire (Danger)
(Freezing Fog Adv)isory, Tsunami Warning, Avalanche W(arning)
(Ice S)torm Warning, Frost Advisory, Fire Warning, Volcano Warn(ing)
Ashfall Advisory, Red Flag Warning, Radiological Hazard Warning
[Text below frame]
When the National Weather Service needs to take a day off, they just issue warnings for everything so no one is caught by surprise.
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