The FBI has joined the search for the person sending fake severe weather damage reports to the National Weather Service
It's happened all over the Midwest including Milwaukee and La Crosse. As many as twenty-five false reports in one weekend. The same person, apparently with some background in meteorology, files a damage report over the internet.
Rusty Kapela coordinates warnings for the National Weather Service in Sullivan, Wisconsin says the reports are almost realistic when in reality they are fake. He says the Sullivan office has not issued any tornado or severe storm warnings based on these reports.
But apparently some weather offices in the Midwest have and that's why the FBI is involved. It's a crime, similar to calling in a false fire alarm.
These fake damage sightings come in on a website available to the public to report what they see during a storm. Just one tool the weather service can use to determine what's going on during severe weather. Kapela says they screen these reports very carefully recognizing they are not coming from trained weather spotters. But they can be useful.
Kapela says they know the prankster's email address and just disregard anything that comes from the IP address.