Search results for: 'tornadoes'

  • 6 Signs a Tornado Is Coming

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    Tornado

     

    When a tornado touches down near you, will you be ready?

    The state of South Carolina hopes to be. Just the other day they conducted a state-wide tornado drill to make sure they’re prepared when—not if— the time comes.

    Although tornadoes tend to stay east of the Rocky Mountains, they have also occurred in pretty much every state. In other words, you could be affected no matter where you live. This means that tornadoes should be on everyone’s list as something to be prepared for.

    So I ask again: Will you be ready when the time comes?

    Animals Flying Watch out for flying livestock!

    When I think of tornadoes, my first thought is a funnel cloud hurling cows through the air. I’ve never been around a real tornado, but the movie Twister definitely prepared me for flying bovine should I ever find myself near one.

    And then, after the image of the cow flies off into the sunset, I ask myself, “What do I actually know about tornadoes, and how will I know if one is coming?”

    Great questions, Self.

    As tornadoes tend to start showing up more prevalently in the spring (and spring has just about sprung), let me share with you how to know if a tornado is on its way for a visit.

    Of course, the easiest way is to have your TV or radio on. Your local broadcasters will broadcast a tornado warning (right in the middle of your favorite show, might I add). Those tend to come only about 13 minutes before the actual tornado, and can actually come much faster. That being said, not every area will receive a broadcast warning, so knowing the signs of an imminent tornado is very important.

    Although tornadoes can be massive and devastating, they at least have the decency to give us a few warning signs before they officially arrive. These six signs should help you identify tornado threats.

    1. A Rotating, funnel shaped cloud extending from a thunderstorm towards the ground.

    Funnel Cloud

    Alright, so this one is one of the more obvious ones. Tornadoes have to form somewhere, so if you see a funnel cloud beginning to form, this is a very good sign a tornado is on its way. When the weather gets rough, you might want to keep your eye on the sky, just in case.

    1. A dark, sometimes green, sky

    green sky

    Not to be confused with the aurora borealis (aka the Northern lights). This is another reason why it’s good to watch the skies during storms. There is a lot of hail in thunderstorms associated with tornadoes, and so as this hail begins to be whipped around, the light of the sun refracts off the hail, giving the sky a green tint. The sky isn’t always green, however, so don’t be fooled if the sky is just very, very dark.

    1. An approaching cloud of debris

    Sometimes the funnel of a tornado will not be visible. Yet. By noticing a cloud of debris approaching (especially at ground level), that can be a good sign that something even more dangerous is on its way.

    1. A loud roar (similar to a freight train)

    This is especially useful if you don’t live near a railroad. Tornadoes give off a continuous rumble, much like that of a train. Other loud noises come from the velocity of the winds, as well as all the debris the tornado is hurling around and smashing into.

    1. A strange calm after a thunderstorm

    It is not uncommon for a tornado to occur after a thunderstorm. Do not be surprised if you see a clear, calm sky in the tornado’s wake.

    1. Debris falling from the sky

    This is also a good indicator that there are strong winds nearby. If debris starts falling from the sky like rain, chances are you’ll want to seek cover.

    Damage Are you prepared for a tornado's devastation?

    So there you have it. If you keep these six things in mind before and during storms, you shouldn’t be caught off guard by a tornado.

    Remember, when a tornado warning comes, you won’t have much time to prepare. If there is a tornado warning today, the time to prepare was yesterday. Be sure to have your emergency kits packed and ready to go before you even think you need them. For ideas as to what should be included in an emergency kit, check out this article at ready.gov. Or, if you’d rather get an emergency kit already put together, check out our selection here.

     

    Let us know how you prepare for tornadoes in the comments below!

    Posted In: Disaster Scenarios, Emergency Kits, Planning Tagged With: signs, warning, Tornado, natural disaster

  • Mother Nature: A Study in Unpredictability

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    motherNatureW

    hen it comes to rowdy weather, we seem to have it all figured out by region: earthquakes in California, tornadoes in Kansas, hurricanes in Florida, and whiteouts in Maine, right? How, then, do we account for recent phenomena like snow in SoCal, a first-time-ever hurricane off the coast of Brazil, and Oklahoma's new distinction as the US's most earthquake prone state? As we prepare for the unexpected, why is it so hard to know what to expect?

    The answer is that Mother Nature refuses to be figured out. She regularly breaks patterns, records, and electrical grids; and her only truly reliable feature is her unpredictability. (Now that I think about it, in some ways she's a lot like my two year-old. Only with a little less applesauce in her hair.)

    While meteorologists and seismologists puzzle over the whys and wherefores, for the rest of us, the biggest question regarding the prospect of a natural disaster is something more along the lines of, "How do I not die?"

    Good question. For our money, the best way to stay on our toes when Mother Nature is feeling capricious is to prepare for a range of circumstances. Have a fire escape plan and a tsunami evacuation route; know how to secure windows for a hurricane and protect pipes against a freeze; teach kids where to hunker down in an earthquake and where to run to in a tornado.

    map We all know where “Tornado Alley” is. Or do we? This map shows that tornados occur just about anywhere they choose.

    Most natural disasters have a specific set of recommended safe practices (check out Ready.gov's disaster specific tips sheets), and we don't want to confuse advice like `stay low in a fire,' and 'stay high in a flood.' Other preparations, however, are not only common to any disaster, but also vital. Here are three that could save your family, no matter what Mother Nature throws your way.

    We all know where "Tornado Alley" is. Or do we? This map shows that tornados occur just about anywhere they choose.

    Store food. Have we mentioned this before? Once or twice? Whether you're an advanced practitioner, with an extensive and neatly catalogued food storage, or a student with a couple of cans of chili under your bed, you need to consider how to access your stash in a hurry. Most organizations recommend keeping 72 hours worth of food handy. You could pull from your storage and make sure you have enough for each family member for three days in some kind of easily accessible pack. Or you could look into pre-packaged kits, like our Premium 4-Person 72-Hour Food Bucket.

    prep101 Learn about the 12 Areas of Preparation. Click on this image to download your own online booklet— Prep 1010: An Introduction to Getting Prepared.
    Store water. Again, the recommendation is water for three days (though longer term storage is a smart idea!). Figuring one gallon per person per day—and more for pets, children, or the elderly—that adds up quickly. There are loads of water storage options on the market, for long and short term, as well as filters and purifiers in case of contamination. Check here to see our range of water storage barrels, packaged water, and water treatment mechanisms.

     

    Store supplies. You may be MacGyver when it comes to household fix-it jobs, but a collapsed roof or flooded living room are going to require more than duct tape and paper clips. Be sure you have a well-stocked emergency supply kit stashed somewhere you can find it readily. FEMA has a useful emergency supply list, for general purposes. For more focused preparation, browse of collection of emergency kits, including everything from auto emergency kits, to power outage kits, to classroom school emergency kits.

     

    So, while this February the Rocky Mountains are enjoying 60° afternoons and Tennessee schools are closed due to icy roads, don’t be outsmarted by that shifty Mother Nature character. The facts are, tornados do strike in Salt Lake City, and Oklahomans will likely feel at least three tremors today. Who knows what’s in store for the rest of the country? Prepare for nature’s curveballs by keeping the basics on hand!

    Posted In: Uncategorized Tagged With: unpredictability, mother nature

  • Preparedness in the News: 5 Things to Know this Week (Jan 4 to Jan 9 2015)

    View in Amarillo Texas Feb 25 2013 - NWS-Amarillo

    View in Amarillo, Texas on Feb. 25, 2013. (Credit: NWS-Amarillo)

    Here are five need-to-know news stories in the world of emergency preparedness for the week of January 4 to January 9.

    1. Weather Channel Teaches Blizzard Facts and Myths

    Amidst turbulent snowstorms across the United States, the Weather Channel released an infographic explaining the true definition of the term “blizzard” (did you know we’ve all been misusing the term all this time?) and providing little known blizzard facts, such as the existence of a “blizzard alley” across the Midwest. Read more at www.weather.com.
    Don’t forget to stock up on hand warmers and blankets, and snag a portable, propane-powered heater in case of power or gas outages that knock the heat out at home.
    For more winter preparedness tips, check out these articles.

    2. California health officials link measles outbreak to Disneyland

    Officials have linked at least nine cases of measles to Disneyland and California Adventure. Three more people are suspected of also carrying the disease. Those ill visited the popular theme parks in late December. Officials are urging those who have visited either park between December 15 and 20 who have symptoms to contact a health care provider immediately. Read more at www.reuters.com.
    Protect yourself and your family from outbreaks through proper vaccinations, good sanitation practices, and knowledge of first aid skills. And be sure to keep your first aid kits well-stocked so you can deal with wounds, burns, and breaks at home or on the go.

    3. President Obama Signs Mississippi Disaster Declaration

    The president has declared a major disaster in Mississippi following a series of tornadoes and severe storms on December 23. Federal funds will be provided to state and local entities for emergency work in Marion County and hazard mitigation across the state. Read more at www.whitehouse.gov.
    For tips on tornado preparedness, look here. Think ahead of time where you’ll go in case of a tornado, hurricane, or severe storm, and check out this article for ideas on what to keep in your storm shelter or safe room.

    4. ‘Culture of preparedness’ necessary to prevent disasters before they happen in Seychelles

    The Republic of Seychelles’ President James Michel is asking the 90,000 island inhabitants to develop a culture of preparedness to help prevent disasters before they occur. Severe weather caused flooding and landslides last weekend on the country’s largest islands. The Republic of Seychelles consists of 115 islands and lies in the Indian Ocean east of Kenya and Tanzania. Read more at www.seychellesnewsagency.com.
    Learn how to prepare for floods here. An emergency kit is always a great starting point for any disaster. Work gloves, tools, and your own power supply can also be pretty crucial in the days after a flood.

    5. UCSF professor shares quake preparedness tips

    Associate Professor of Medicine Matthew Springer of UC San Francisco spoke to a group earlier this week on how to prepare for an earthquake. Springer lectured on the importance of seeking shelter from falling objects underneath something sturdy, as well as building an emergency supply kit. Read more at www.napavalleyregister.com.

    Find Earthquake preparedness tips for before, during, and after a quake here. If you have to evacuate from home after a quake because it has become unsafe, you’ll be glad to have an emergency kit in your car and an evacuation plan already in place.

     

    More Headlines From Around the Globe This Week:
    Cold weather preparedness for your home
    Hyogo to dig wells at schools designated as disaster shelters to ensure water access
    Red Cross to offer disaster preparedness training
    Wind chills so cold in Midwest they could kill
    Nine earthquakes rattle North Texas in under 24 hours

    -- Caroline

    Posted In: Uncategorized Tagged With: Preparedness In The News, Current Events

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