Mahurin Honors College Capstone Experience/Thesis Projects


Geography and Geology

Document Type



The United States is one of the most prone areas in the world to experience severe weather. A warning system operated by the National Weather Service alerts the public of the dangers of severe weather. The purpose of this project is to analyze the effectiveness of the National Weather Service warning system across Kentucky and Tennessee. A case study is presented analyzing six severe weather events in areas warned by the National Weather Service offices in Louisville, Kentucky and Nashville, Tennessee in 2018. Factors reviewed include effectiveness in issuing timely warnings, verification (i.e., whether or not severe weather actually occurred), and which office performed better in issuing warnings, among others. Results from these events are then used to analyze the effectiveness of these warnings and raise questions about any deficiencies that may have been identified in the warning process in this case study. While most warnings with these six events were effective in protecting the public, there were still noticeable errors or missteps with the warning process in each of these events that should be addressed in order to improve the warning process in the future. These errors and missteps are summarized as a series of questions at the end of each event analyzed in this case study, with big picture questions serving as the basis for future research in improving the severe weather warning process.

Advisor(s) or Committee Chair

Dr. Josh Durkee, Dr. Greg Goodrich


Climate | Communication | Meteorology