Yes, it's true. There was a tornado in Denver today. You'd think that because of the mountains, tornadoes wouldn't occur in Denver -- and generally, that's true. Residents report that even when there are tornado watches, tornadoes usually don't form.
But today, a tornado touched down near the Denver airport. Here's an article from The Houston Chronicle with startling pictures.
Tornadoes can touch down just about anywhere warm air collides with cold air. That generally produces a supercell where the colliding air streams begin to twist around each other. Here's a great video explanation.
If you don't know what to do when a tornado watch or warning is issued, you'll probably want to read this article.
Did you know that by July of 2012, 20 fires had been started last year by target shooters, including the Dump Fire, which burned 5,507 acres and cost $2.1 million to fight? The heat of bullets mixed with the hot, dry earth can be a very dangerous mix. Consider either visiting indoor shooting ranges or taking a couple months off from target shooting during the summer.
Another tip includes having an evacuation plan. Your plan should include an emergency kit, bug out bag, or go bag, as well as a meeting place away from the house where everyone can meet in case of an emergency evacuation.
Maryn McKenna shared her first-hand experience with an unexpected fire via Wired Magazine in her article, The Risks You Don’t Think of: A Plea to Pack a ‘Go Bag.’ She and her husband packed for a possible evacuation from their home because of a tree that had fallen on an electrical transformer next to their house. They packed their bags, and ultimately didn’t need them. Here’s what she said about her packing:
To be honest, I give myself a C. I grabbed the cat’s food and dishes, but didn’t think to take the medication I give her twice a day. I took all the devices that access my stuff in the cloud, but didn’t recall that I keep some things out of the cloud for security; I should have taken the external back-up that sits on my desk. And, if things went very bad, I might have had a hard time dealing with the details; I relied on having web-based banking, but I didn’t think to take the phone or account numbers for any of the utilities. And I committed those fails despite minimal things to distract me: my spouse (aviation engineer) and I (epidemics and disasters journalist, pilot) are pretty accustomed to emergencies; we had only one pet to wrangle; and we didn’t have any small children or mobility-challenged elders to keep calm. And, most fortunate of all, we ended up not having to run.
In the case of a large-scale evacuation, you will most likely have a few minutes to pack (versus a home fire where you need to evacuate immediately), but only a few. Keep emergency kits, important documentation, and precious keepsakes or photos where they can be packed quickly; that will help ease the stress of an evacuation and leave you with the assurance that you got everything vital out of the house.
Think you’ll be able to “wing it” when an evacuation order comes knocking at your door? Evacuation: The 10 Minute Challenge, a video created by the Insurance Information Institute, shows the difference planning ahead will make—because those ten minutes will go by a lot more quickly than you’d expect:
P.S. I have my own tip for you. A couple of years ago we had a kitchen fire at my house (and no, I’m not the one who started it). We started chatting with the firemen who came, and they said that many house fires are started by toasters that short out in the middle of the night. So keep those electronics unplugged when you’re not using them.
Be on the watch for weather updates on Tropical Depression Two (this is the second major Tropical Depression of the 2013 Hurricane season). Although this storm formed in the Caribbean Sea, weather analysts suggest that it has the potential to emerge in northeastern Mexico and could even travel into parts of southern Texas.
Currently, Tropical Depression Two is expected to move west into parts of Belize and the Yucatan Peninsula over the next 24 hours. Weather analysts believe that it may eventually emerge into the Bay of Campeche on the southwestern Gulf of Mexico. According to the Washington Post, if the storm hits the Bay of Campeche it could intensify creating a major Hurricane.
But what is a Tropical Depression? And what types of effects could it have on those who live in its path?
A Tropical Depression is a storm system that includes clouds, showers, and thunderstorms that originate in the Tropics. It is characterized by its heavy wind patterns (up to 38 mph) that blow around a center of low pressure that creates a closed circulation. This means that Tropical Depressions produce heavy rain and strong winds that could damage homes, create power outages, and cause flooding.
NOAA and weatherchannel.com will be monitoring the strength of the storm and will have up-to-date information on the route the storm travels. For more information on Tropical Depression Two check out these news stories:
Vinegar does way more than just make you pucker. Besides being a versatile ingredient in food preservation and a tasty flavor addition, here are 10 things we bet you didn’t know you could do with vinegar. (And why it’s the secret weapon in your food storage pantry!)
Do you have a three-month, short-term supply of perishable items in your food storage? Like most preppers, you probably know how important it is to have a long-term, shelf-stable supply of food storage. Have you thought about including food items that won’t store as long, but add high value?
I bet you have a few SuperPails of grains in your long-term food storage. You’re probably planning on grinding the wheat into flour and baking with it. That’s a good plan. Now, consider how many ways you can use a SuperPail of wheat or oat groats if you keep some oil, vinegar, and spices on hand. You could make one of these tasty salads, or this easy and delicious breakfast.
When thinking about food storage, many people just stock up on the bare minimum for survival. But having familiar and nutritious food on hand is important to your health and emotional well-being in a crisis. Consider keeping extra packages or bottles of the condiments and add-ins that you normally use while you cook. When you have to dig into your food storage, you’ll still be able to make your favorite meals because you’ll have your favorite ingredients on hand (instead of going to the store with the crowds and settling for whatever’s left on the shelves).
Here are some of my favorites that I keep in my food storage pantry. I use them often, so I rotate them frequently enough that they don’t go bad.
These items were never meant to be stored long-term. But keeping them in your food storage plan—and making sure to rotate them—will increase what you can do with your food storage if the times comes that you need to rely on it exclusively. These everyday items can take your food storage from back-up plan to luxury.
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What’s the weather like in your neck of the woods? It’s sunny and clear in Utah, but here’s a heads up if you live on the east coast in any of the Mid-Atlantic States: It’s gonna be rainy today!
According to a brief from the Philidelphia/Mt. Holly office of the National Weather Service (NWS), there is potential for widespread flash flooding and river flooding. There is also the possibility of “tornados, strong damaging winds, and large hail” which may cause trees to uproot and increase the likelihood of damage to power lines.
Hopefully, like yesterday’s expected derecho, the weather will be less severe than predicted. It’s never a bad idea to plan for the worst, so take this information and get ready. You might not be able to get one in time for this week’s storms, but having a radio on hand, and tuned to the NOAA Weather Radio station for your area, is an easy way to get weather updates – especially watches and warnings.
This brief a great example of the information you can get from NOAA’s National Weather Service. They work hard to stay ahead of the weather to give you as much warning as possible. Get familiar with the NWS website and sign up for alerts. You’ll be glad you did!
If you live in the Midwest you want to be especially watchful today.
Large hail, strong winds, lighting, and possible tornadoes may cause widespread power outages. That would mean your access to water, air conditioning, and electricity could be reduced, or possibly eliminated if the storms get strong enough.
Stock up on important survival items like water storage containers, alternative lighting, and food that doesn’t need to be cooked (include links). Consider how you will keep cool if your AC is out.
For those of you travelling this week, make sure you keep checking the weather. If you’re flying, expect flight delays or cancellations. If you’re driving, keep an emergency kit in your car, make sure to have alternate routes mapped out (check out baby step #4), and know where accommodations are so that you can find shelter if you need it.
We suggest following NOAA and FEMA’s Twitter feeds for your region. We’ll also keep you posted via our Emergency Essentials Twitter feed as we receive information we’ll tweet storm watches and warnings from 8 am -5 pm MST. If you don’t use Twitter, or if we’re not Tweeting, check out these websites: