DISASTERS

Forecasters still spooked by high death toll seek new ways to improve tornado warnings

  • FILE - In this  April 30, 2014 file photo, Dustin Shaw lifts debris as he searches through what is left of his sister's house in Vilonia, Ark. Forecasters who are troubled by the high death count from twisters in recent years say they must find better ways to communicate if the public is going to behave appropriately as bad weather approaches. (AP Photo/Danny Johnston, File)

    FILE - In this April 30, 2014 file photo, Dustin Shaw lifts debris as he searches through what is left of his sister's house in Vilonia, Ark. Forecasters who are troubled by the high death count from twisters in recent years say they must find better ways to communicate if the public is going to behave appropriately as bad weather approaches. (AP Photo/Danny Johnston, File)  (The Associated Press)

  • FILE - In this April 29, 2014 file photo, Louie Short walks through rubble that is all that remains of his Mayflower, Ark., home. Short's arm was injured in a tornado that struck his neighborhood killing one man. Forecasters who are troubled by the high death count from twisters in recent years say they must find better ways to communicate if the public is going to behave appropriately as bad weather approaches. (AP Photo/Danny Johnston, File)

    FILE - In this April 29, 2014 file photo, Louie Short walks through rubble that is all that remains of his Mayflower, Ark., home. Short's arm was injured in a tornado that struck his neighborhood killing one man. Forecasters who are troubled by the high death count from twisters in recent years say they must find better ways to communicate if the public is going to behave appropriately as bad weather approaches. (AP Photo/Danny Johnston, File)  (The Associated Press)

Weather experts are hoping that their social media skills will one day match their forecasting skills.

The National Weather Center in Oklahoma is working on several projects to increase the amount of time people have to prepare for storms.

One project suggests creating threat assessments for each square-kilometer area, particularly those in Tornado Alley. Smartphone users could perhaps receive the assessments through an app.

Forecasters are still responding to an especially bad tornado year in 2011. While advances in science helped them predict the storms, the death toll was the second-highest on record, at 553. The National Weather Service says it wants people to react appropriately when bad weather approaches.

The highest death toll was 794 tornado fatalities in 1925, well before advanced technology helped forecasters.