We’ve officially started the tornado season across the Southeast. So far, the season has been relatively calm but as warm days become more common, the risk of thunderstorms will increase. Before the storms hit is the time to make sure you have you’re family’s plan of action in the event a Tornado Warning is issued for your area. The plan should include:
1. Knowing how you will hear the warning
2. Knowing where you will take shelter in your home
3. Knowing everyone in your family knows the plan by holding a quick drill…
Obviously, these three steps are simple and are a very basic level of preparedness. For a more in-depth post on making your plan, click HERE:
Here are a couple of thoughts on our tornado season this year:
1. While it may be starting a little late due to cold air, the upcoming severe weather season may be active. There’s still a lot of cold air up north and the waters of the Gulf of Mexico and in the Atlantic Ocean are warmer than normal to the south. This, in part, COULD lead to a more active pattern. Many times, large differences between air masses helps to spin up stronger storm systems as the atmosphere attempts to balance itself.
2. The False Alarm Rate (F.A.R) for Tornado Warnings is going down. After the massive tornado outbreak of April 27th, 2011, the National Weather Service in Birmingham began studying new ways to make tornado warnings more accurate. Using new methods of analysis, they dropped the FAR by 50% in only one year. This means there are better chances of tornado damage during warnings this year than just a three years ago.
3. Whether above ground or below ground, engineered storm shelters really work. Despite last year’s devastation in Moore, Oklahoma from an EF-5 tornado, all who sought safety in tornado shelters survived – not one death.
4. Receiving warnings is easier than ever before. Whether it’s a weather radio or a weather app on your smartphone, these devices will warn you of impending danger from tornadoes. They are affordable for most people and are very effective at automatically notifying you in the event of a tornado warning. Two of my favorite apps are iMap Weather Radio and MyWarn. Also, the Midland WR120 EZ weather radio can readily be found at stores like Walgreens, Wal Mart, and Kroger for around 30 dollars.
Making sure you have a plan and have the ability to receive warnings will go a long way to ensuring this tornado season will be a safe one for you and your family.