First Substantial Severe Weather Threat of 2014

Severe Weather Outlook from SPC on 2-20-14. Source: SPC

Severe Weather Outlook from SPC on 2-20-14. Source: SPC

**MORNING UPDATE 2-20-2014

The Storm Prediction Center has placed a moderate risk of severe weather (see red area in graphic) for cities such as Nashville, Memphis, Bowling Green, KY, Louisville, and Jackson, TN.  This means a fairly widespread severe weather event is likely.  Straight line wind damage is the highest threat but isolated tornadoes cannot be ruled out.  Stay close to a source of weather warnings and take action immediately if you are placed under a warning. See the full outlook HERE.

(original post from 2-18-2014)While we’ve all been huddled by the fires and heaters waiting for the winter chill to end lately, very active storm systems have been moving across the country will lots of snow and frigid temperatures from the Rockies east.  This week, the pattern is shifting (albeit temporarily) and allowing much warmer air to take over the Plains and Southeast.  Even though the cold is being held at bay to the north, the strong storm systems are still moving across the country.  One of these systems will move through the Mississippi, Ohio and Tennessee River valleys on Thursday bringing our first substantial widespread threat for severe weather of 2014 (see SPC graphic – areas in yellow included in severe risk).  Severe weather hasn’t been on the minds of many people during the cold weather but as the warmer air begins to return from the Gulf of Mexico, severe weather threats will become more common.  For much of the Southeast, tornado season kicks off in March and goes through May.  The time is now to make sure you have your family’s plan of action is in order and all of your family members are familiar with it (the same goes for businesses as well).  Here are some questions you need to answer when formulating your plan:

1.  How are you going to hear warnings?  Will it be through a weather smartphone app such as MyWarn or a weather radio?  Missing warnings leads to injuries and deaths every year.
2.  Where are you going to seek shelter?  If you don’t have an engineered storm shelter, do you have a basement?  If not, what about a small interior room, such as a closet or bathroom, away from windows and outside walls on the lowest floor?
3.  Do you have a tornado safety kit in your safe area?  Take a box, bucket or duffel bag and put some bottles of water, energy bars, first aid kit, flashlight, fresh batteries, portable radio, work gloves, old pair of shoes, blanket, copy of your driver’s license, bicycle or sports helmets for the kids, a couple of days worth of maintenance medicines and a whistle.  If you have a storm shelter or more permanent safe room, also consider some cash and important papers as well…
4.  Does everyone in my home (or business) know the plan?
Make sure to conduct a tornado drill and go through the motions so that everyone in your family knows what to expect during a real warning.  Taking immediate and proper actions saves many lives each year…
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