Tag Archives: thundertorm

Severe Weather Safety Links To Keep You And Your Family Safe. #WeatherReady (Updated 7 April 2017)

For Monday, April 3, 2017, the Storm Prediction Center is forecasting numerous severe storms across parts of several southern states. 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

SEVERE WEATHER INFORMATION

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.

INFOGRAPHICS

From the Storm Prediction Center (SPC), a concise explanation of risk categories. (Graphic courtesy SPC)

Do you know the difference between a WATCH and a WARNING? (Graphic courtesy NWS Amarillo, TX)

When a Severe Thunderstorm Warning is issued, there is specific criteria that a thunderstorm must meet to be considered severe. You should be aware of those criteria and recognize them if you see them and what safety precautions to take. (Graphic courtesy NWS Birmingham, AL)

Your mobile device can save your life. Make sure your phones, tablets, et al. are charged at all times. (Graphic courtesy NOAA)

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.

  1. 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.
  2. 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!

Cheers!

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Tornado Quest Science Links And Much More For Feb. 23 – March 5, 2015

This has been a very busy week for me with several important projects in the works, two media interviews, and last but not least, a potent March winter storm. Hence the short post for this week. Spring, and the severe weather that accompanies the seasonal changes on the Great Plains, is just around the corner. Along with that goes many long, long days for me. In lieu of my usual post, I’m sharing some severe weather safety information. It’s that time of year to prepare as the inevitable uptick in severe thunderstorm, hail, high winds, tornadoes, flash floods, and lightning events will take place.

For your consideration, here are this week’s links…

GENERAL SCIENCE/SCIENCE EDUCATION

Communicating science to a largely apathetic general public is often one of the most challenging communication dilemmas a scientist will face.

Not directly weather related, but a result of it. “Insurers pay out more on claims in storm-prone Oklahoma.”

ATMOSPHERIC SCIENCE

Many parts of the USA will be affected by climate change…and the “breadbasket” is no exception.

A very timely essay on the hazards of posting weather model forecast images in social media.

Here’s this week’s US Drought Monitor. Aside from minor improvement in Texas, extreme and exceptional drought conditions persist in several states.

SEVERE WEATHER SAFETY

Thunderstorms, Tornadoes, and Lightning: Nature’s Most Violent Storms (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

National Weather Service Website Legend, Definitions, Safety, & Preparedness Info

Also, a quick reminder to always practice very strict due diligence when making choices on where you get potentially life-saving weather information for you and your loved ones. The best and most timely information (where seconds can literally mean life or death) will come from your local National Weather Service office, NOAA weather radio, and the broadcast meteorologists (local and/or national) of your choice. It will not come from weather hobbyists, storm chasers, etc. who, all too often, are fishing for Twitter followers, Facebook likes, and a great deal of attention for their social media. Having said that, I will re-emphasize what I have always said about my own online presence; Tornado Quest is not, has never been, and never will be a source for potentially life saving information. I may pass along severe weather watch and mesoscale discussion for the southern plains (I have a very high percentage of followers in this region) and may comment occasionally on a severe thunderstorm or tornado radar image I find intriguing in a scientific sense, but never in a warning mode or masquerading as a source of very important weather watch and/or warning information. You know who you prefer in your local or national television market in terms of broadcast meteorologists and should know how to get information from your local National Weather Service office via computer, cell phone, or NOAA weather radio. My opinions on who you get your weather information from are not popular with many hobbyists, but I stand firmly by everything I say.

And on that note, have a great day…see you next time!

Cheers!

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