The United States Starts the Year 2008 off with a Twist
The second week in 2008 of weather in the US is more then just your average snow-days and brings a little twist in the winds by way of tornados and severe thunderstorms, as two storm systems move across our country taking lives, injuring people and devastating our communities. Over these three days and nights of severe weather (January 7-8-10, 2008) 64 tornados were spawned from the storm systems. Along with the tornados there where 224 reports of severe wind and 168 hail reports. Looking at the map of severe weather reports, put out by the SPC, on the 10th one report stands out from the rest, a tornado that hit Washington State, a state that does not see tornados very often, even in May or June, the spring months for us.
This time of year in the United States we think of our weather as being snow, ice and cold and in themselves can bring loss to our communities. But we can also get fall and winter thunderstorms that can bring severe weather although, our big tornado and thunderstorm weather months are May and June, the spring months for us. But even at that, this time of year we will see maybe one or two storms that bring tornados in winter but not like what we have had.
Sometimes when we see and hear of these disasters on radio and TV we feel it to be remote, like this will not be me or we get active with everyday life, busy with family and work and start to think of weather safety as being something we hear all the time and stop thinking about it. But it will someday be us, we will be those faces on the TV, we will be the flat B&W photos in the newspaper. It is up to us, we are responsible for our own safety so if you are reading this with me today and you live in apart of our word that can get these storms, lets think about where and what we would do the next time a storm is moving in that has a warning or a warning is issued for our location.
The easiest way I can think of to put tornado and severe thunderstorm safety is lowest level, smallest room, center part. Go to the lowest level of your home or business in the smallest room, the bathroom sometimes will offer the best protection; this might be due to the extra support from the plumbing and frame work in the walls. If time allows cover your head and upper body with blankets, pillows, or cushions. Do not open windows! By going to the center part of your home, you will be putting as many walls between you and the exterior; this will provide the most protection from the missiles (flying glass, bricks, boards…) from the damage being done down stream. Mobile homes offer very little or no protection from even the strong straight line winds of a thunderstorm, so know were to go if you are in a mobile home and a warning is issued.
On the open road, do not use a highway overpass for a tornado or hail shelter. Get off the road and seek shelter in a building. If no building is available, move at a right angel of the tornado path. Most tornado damage swaths are at most, one mile wide. The idea is to move out of the path not to out run the tornado. You can determine the path by picking an object that is in line with the tornado and watching to see if the tornado is moving to the right or left, if it is getting bigger it is more than likely moving in your direction and you need to take cover or move. In town taking cover in a building would be the action to take, the roads will be filled with people trying to get away, and being in a traffic jam with a big tornado coming down the road, would not be my choice of action to take. With this said you should not be on the road during severe weather, if in your car and severe weather is moving in stop, get out, take cover, be aware of your environment. Your vehicle will give you no protection from the winds of a tornado. Stay tuned to local radio or TV. If threatening weather is approaching, take the appropriate action.
Getting the Warnings
If you and your family have a smoke and fire detector in your home, business and schools… have a NOAA weather radio (NWR). To be able to take action and take cover from these storms you will first have to know that a warning has been issued for your location, if the storm is moving in at night a NWR will wake you and your family up from sleep. And our tornado sirens are not meant to be an indoor warning system. The soul purpose of our Civil Defense (CD) sirens, are to warn the public that are in the outdoors, not in your home, office or school, so if you do not own a NWR with battery back up, get one today from your local electronics store If you live in a rural community and out away from the cities, you may have to get a radio that has an external antenna. After it is all said and done, the price of one of these radios is well, just worth your life and that of your family’s lives.
Take an active roll in you safety before the next severe weather day, go to your HR (Human Resources) department at work and ask questions. If you have a safety coordinator is he or she involved with making sure that everyone at your work place knows, were to go and what to do. And is there a way you will know if a warning is issued while at work. If you are having fire drills at work and school… you should be having severe weather drills. Get involved with your communities; if you live in a small city or town is there a CD siren, if so is it being tested on a weekly or monthly basis. On April 26, 1991 a tornado moved into the town of Andover Kansas and into the Golden Spur Trailer Park. The city had a siren but it was not in working condition, lives were lost. Some people were not aware that a large tornado was just minutes away and therefore did not take the action that would have likely saved there life.
Planning today is being prepared tomorrow!
Weather Safety Tips credits to;
Storm Prediction Center
Storm report data credits to;
Storm Prediction Center
120 David L. Boren Blvd.
Norman, OK 73072 U.S.A.
Tornados and severe thunderstorms hit the US in January taking lives, injuring people and devastating our communities. Some planning today is being prepared tomorrow.
A car is blown up to a tree and the frame is bent by the winds of a tornado
A home hit by the winds of a tornado the inter wall standing
A telephone pole with the top broken off and taken away by the wind, the bottom of the pole catching a bed and other debris from the tornado
A truck taken away by the wind and dropped in this field 300 yards from its home
A bank hit by the winds of a tornado what is left of the bank is in the back ground and the bank safes, in the safe would have been the place to be
The music that once filled a house and made it a home taken away by the wind. Hubris and humility alike are swept away by the uncaring atmosphere. The tornado doesn’t care about what it encounters … it’s not evil, just unfeeling.
Copyright 2008 Kenneth Fugate-StormPhoto.net