Tuesday, February 19, 2008

Speaking of severe weather safety...

I mentioned in the post below the importance of severe weather awareness. One of my weather friends and fellow blogger, Dew, had a really good post today in response to a comment she received.

She writes, "She was confused by the warning because conditions didn't seem "bad" enough for a tornado. Please don't ever be fooled by clear or less than severe conditions. If your weather radio, TV station or weather.com tells you to take shelter immediately, please act accordingly! It could be nothing (great, then you can laugh about it later), but it's really not worth taking the risk. SEEK SHELTER! A lot of times the worst part of a storm is on the leading edge of a squall line event. In fact, sometimes, isolated cells form well ahead of the line where instability and available energy is ideal for tornadogenesis, and those are the most dangerous because, as she said, conditions usually appear fine and then WaPOW!, there is this doozy of a supercell that drops a tornado seemingly out of nowhere. Such was the case on February 17th, where an isolated supercell formed ahead of the squall line causing an insane amount of damage when it eventually dropped the EF3 tornado in Prattville, AL."

This is excellent advice! Meteorologist James Spann of ABC 33/40 in Birmingham often uses the phrase, "follow the course of least regret." The worst thing that can happen by taking shelter needlessly is that you lose a few minutes. We all know what the worst thing would be if you do not take shelter when necessary.


Dewdrop said...

Thanks for the kudos and the link, Mike. I felt that something needed to be said.

Mike Wilhelm said...

It did...

Sharp said...

I, of course, agree all around. Great post, Dew.

Often people don't understand the need to take the radios seriously until after the fact. I saw yesterday that WAFF had record numbers of people show up in recently-hit Lawrence and Jackson counties for weather radio programming.

I've tried to spread the word to my friends but not everyone feels it's a priority.

Many people feel the radios are an annoyance, probably from experiences they had back when the radios would sound off for anything within a 75 mile radius (Which WAS especially annoying at 2 a.m. for a flash flood watch for a county in the next state!). Something I've tried to stress is that they can now be programmed for a narrower focus of counties. For example, I have ours programmed for just our county and those contiguous to it. We stay weather-aware during the day and that keeps us covered at night.

Mike Wilhelm said...

The Wal Mart in Moulton sold out of 500 wx radios at $29.95 each in no time. It is amazing how people in a community become very conscious of the dangers associated with severe weather immediately after it hits their community. I remember that many people in Huntsville built storm cellars after April 3, 1974.

This is severe weather preparedness week. After the events of the past few weeks, I hope people are taking this seriously.

I was impressed and amazed that no lives were lost in Prattville despite an EF3 damaging or destroying 200 homes and (by some accounts) 100 businesses.

Thanks for the comment Sharp. It has all the more credibility coming from someone with your experience.