“Spring Yields Tame To Tempest
The long awaited spring will arrive none too soon. With it comes more tolerable temperatures and those flower sprouting showers you hear songs about. But the core of this season’s rain activity isn’t portrayed as gentle showers as much as in pounding thunderstorms. The contrast in temperature between the receding grip of winter and summer’s northward advance will determine their intensity. Storms can vary from a distant annoyance to a raging overhead fury. Your best defense is to hope for the best while preparing for the worst.
Your first line of defense when threatening weather approaches is not to panic. Cooler heads prevail. Should you hear sirens alerting you of impending danger, or you personally see damage occurring from advancing storms, seek shelter along the wall of your basement. If you have no basement, retreat to a central first floor room with no outside walls. This could be a bathroom or closet.
Let’s prepare even further ahead. While the weather is placid, make a plan now for where you will go when the worst occurs. Should your home become unlivable after an event, you will need a money resource and ID to hold out until your home is restored. To avoid these things being lost in the storm, prepare now what you will collect enroute to your shelter. Know where these items are at all times so you don’t spend precious time looking for them. Keep a bag or satchel at the ready to collect them on the run. Some of these items should include any cash, your checkbook, charge cards, driver’s license, and your car keys in case your vehicle survives. This is your survival kit, the seed to putting your life back together.
The National Weather Service classifies “severe” thunderstorms as producing ¾ inch diameter hail or greater, strong wind downbursts of 58 mph or more, or a storm producing a tornado. National outlooks for the probability of severe storms will be issued days ahead of time with suspected trouble areas covering whole regions of the country. Severe Thunderstorm and Tornado Watches are usually issued hours before storms appear or blossom into severe stage and may cover several states. If you are included in a Watch area, this is a good time to gather your valuables or take note of where they are. Watches are in effect for many hours and are not specific when or where any one location will experience severe thunderstorms.
Warnings are issued when a severe thunderstorm or tornado has been reported or determined by local radar to be imminent. A warning will be cause for local authorities to sound the sirens for your area. These are issued for a period of an hour or less, covering parts of an individual county. A Severe Thunderstorm Warning implies the large hail and/or high winds, as defined above, with the possibilities of tornadoes. A Tornado Warning implies specifically that a tornado has been spotted in or near your area.
While most receive their alerts via siren or the television crawl, the quickest reception will be through NOAA weather radio. Technology has come a long way since the old weather band radios. You can now purchase crystal controlled weather alert radios from a local electronics store. These modern day weather radios can be programmed to a local frequency to alert you of any warnings issued in or near your community. In non-threatening weather, you can use them to keep abreast of current weather conditions and forecasts, commercial-free. Warnings will interrupt the regular forecasts within seconds of their issuance from the National Weather Service. And the faster you are aware of the danger, the more time you have to take cover.”