Severe weather is the last thing on many people’s minds just a few days before Christmas but a severe threat, including the possibility of isolated tornadoes, exists for cities such as Nashville, Memphis, Jackson, TN, Little Rock, Birmingham, Huntsville, AL on Saturday, December 21st. In addition to these cities, much of Louisiana, Mississippi and Kentucky will see the threat as well (see map). A potent storm system with lots of Gulf of Mexico moisture and near record warmth will cross the southeast through the upcoming weekend. Due to very strong winds near the surface and at jet stream level, along with plenty of directional wind shear, conditions will likely exist that will trigger storms with the potential for strong straight-line winds and a few tornadoes Saturday into early Sunday. Many people will, no doubt, be out on Saturday afternoon and evening going to Christmas parties or doing last-minute Christmas shopping. If this includes you, please have a way to hear weather warnings. One of my favorite ways is to have a weather warning app on your smartphone such as MyWarn or iMap Weather Radio. If you’ll be at home, a weather radio is an excellent source of weather information – especially at night. Pay close attention if you end up in a warned area and take action immediately to seek shelter in a sturdy building. The weather warning system works best if:
1. A good warning is issued
2. People hear the warnings
3. People take immediate action
4. People choose a safe place to seek shelter
Once the warning is issued, steps 2 through 4 are up to you. Please make sure you have a plan to take these steps so you’re not caught off-guard or unprepared. Failure to do so leads to many of the injuries or deaths we see each year from tornadoes.
Read more HERE about how the system works well if people have a plan of safety and heed warnings when severe weather is occurring in an interview I did for NationalGeographic.com after last month’s tornado outbreak in the Midwest.