Updated 0900 UTC 30 March 2017: Today, we’re in day five of a five day severe weather episode across several states. The Storm Prediction Center is predicting at least one more day of severe weather (as of 30 March 2017). In lieu of the weekly science review (which I’ll post on Friday), I’ll pass along some severe weather safety information. The climatological peak of activity isn’t until May…so we’ve several more weeks of active severe weather episodes that may, or may not, materialize. Regardless, best to be prepared. I hope these links are of assistance to you.
SEVERE WEATHER SAFETY AND PREPAREDNESS
- Thunderstorms, Tornadoes, Lightning…Nature’s Most Violent Storms (20 page PDF file)
- Tornado Safety Rules from the Storm Prediction Center
- Highway Overpasses As Tornado Shelters
- The Online Tornado FAQ
- Facts About Derechos
- Flash Flooding: Turn Around, Don’t Drown
- NOAA Weather Radio
- Ready.gov Basic Disaster Supply Kit Info
- Red Cross Severe Weather Safety Information
- The Weather Channel: Prepare Your Pets For Emergencies
SEVERE WEATHER INFORMATION
- Storm Prediction Center
- National Weather Service Homepage (Local information from your National Weather Service Office)
One caveat about this category. The two links for the SPC and NWS are excellent sources and the starting point for everyone’s information. As for local broadcast meteorologists, I can only suggest that you watch those which are to your liking…which is extremely subjective…and therefore in the interest of fairness and objectivity, I have no recommendations.
From the Storm Prediction Center, a concise explanation of risk categories.
Do you know the difference between a WATCH and a WARNING?
Your mobile device can save your life. Make sure your phones, tablets, et al. are charged at all times.
CITIZEN SCIENCE: CONTRIBUTING TO DATA BASES AND RESEARCH DURING/AFTER THE STORM
- CoCoRaHS: “”Volunteers working together to measure precipitation across the nations.”
- mPING: “Weather radars cannot “see” at the ground, so mPING reports are used by the NOAA National Weather Service to fine-tune their forecasts. NSSL uses the data in a variety of ways, including to develop new radar and forecasting technologies and techniques.”
Last but not least on the list of links is one that I know pertains to not a few people…a phobia of thunderstorms, tornadoes, lightning and thunder. It may be no consolation, but I have two bits of encouragement for anyone who suffers with these challenges.
- The first three (thunderstorms, tornadoes, and lightning) are obvious hazards, but thunder is harmless. It’s merely the air reacting to the sudden heating caused by the extremely hot lightning bolt. If you’ve ever experienced a static electric shock and heard a small “pop” sound, it’s basically the same thing, only on a larger scale. So let the thunder roar. It is what causes the thunder that you need to be wary of.
- Consider where you live or will be during a severe thunderstorm. The chances of the very spot you are in getting the worst of the storm are actually rather small. Let’s say you live in a 2,000 square foot home and a severe thunderstorm warning has been issued for your area. The odds of the highest winds, largest hail, and perhaps flash flooding blasting the structure you’re in is quite small. On a map, you’re a mere speck that is barely seen without a magnifying glass. Let’s take it up a notch a bit an consider tornadoes. In spite of what you see on YouTube, Twitter, Facebook, the local or national news, etc., tornadoes are an exceptionally rare event. Most tornadoes are also in the EF-0 or EF-1 category with maximum winds of perhaps 110 m.p.h. at peak intensity. Most frame homes and commercial buildings will easily sustain a direct hit from a tornado of this strength. Yes, it’ll leave a mess but if you read the safety rules above and take proper precautions, you’ll be fine. Scared? Yes. That’s normal. Our limbic system in our brain (aka fight or flight) is a wonderful part of hundreds of millions of years of evolution that has evolved to give us adrenaline, increased heart rate and respiration, and a host of other reactions that are there for our benefit. Bottom line: have a disaster/severe weather preparedness kit assembled and at-the-ready year round, know what to do in a severe thunderstorm or tornado warning, avoid any lightning dangers, don’t drive or go into flash flooding areas, keep abreast of weather updates with a NOAA weather radio, your mobile device, and/or the broadcast meteorologists of your choice, and you’ll be just fine. Knowledge is power…and you’ll feel more powerful and less fearful with an increased knowledge of storms and what to do when a watch and warning is issued for your location.
Finally…one last word…
Please keep in mind that only NOAA weather radio, your local National Weather Service office, or reliable media are the best sources of important, timely, and potentially life-saving weather information, watches, and warnings! None of the links on this page should be used for life-&-death decisions or the protection of property!
Stay weather aware…and stay safe!
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