In light of the impending winter storm that will impact several southern states and the Mid-Atlantic, I’d like to pass along some winter weather safety information. Many of you may already have this information at hand but for those who don’t, I’d recommend bookmarking it for future reference.
As a veteran of several devastating ice storms in Oklahoma, I can assure you that the aftermath is neither pretty or easily tolerable. For many of you, there’s less than twelve to eighteen hours (at most) left to prepare. As they say for an approaching hurricane, “all necessary preparations should be rushed to completion.” There’s no reason to panic, that will get you nowhere, but you’re running out of time. If your area is impacted by a significant ice storm, be prepared for power outages. Keep very close tabs on your local National Weather Service office via their website or NOAA weather radio as well as local broadcast meteorologists for the latest information. As for social media (and this is only my own opinion) be quite selective with the information you take in. Stick with your local weather service office and reliable media and avoid the ‘rumor mill’ or online amateurs waving their arms about to garner attention. Yes, there are plenty of meteorology buffs, including yours truly, who enjoy sharing information, but we should not be looked upon as official sources of information that involve the protection or safety of lives and property. I may share something I find interesting, but it’s only from a purely scientific viewpoint and should never be taken as a “warning” of any sort. That’s what reliable media/broadcast meteorologists and National Weather Service office are for. Yes, I’ve gotten onto a bit of a soapbox here, but this is something I feel very strongly about, especially in life threatening situations…and I feel my opinions are very valid for good reason.
Now for a quick note that’s on the lighter side…while you’re weathering this winter storm, download the National Severe Storm Laboratory’s mPING app and report the kind of precipitation and weather you’re getting. Your report goes into helping research meteorologists verify what they’re seeing on radar. If nothing else, it’ll give you something to take your mind off the potential winter weather hazards and you’ll be contributing to weather research. You don’t have to go outside to send in a mPING report…you can do it from the safety and comfort inside of your home or place of work.
Alright…you’ve got yourself set for this winter storm, right? Good. Take some mental notes while it’s in progress. Events like this don’t happen often…which is good. Stay safe, stay warm, and stay informed.