Tag Archives: natural disaster

  • 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

  • 5 Things you May not Know about Hurricane Season

    5 Things you May not Know about Hurricane Season

    During my regular news trolling last week, I came across an AP headline that several of the big outlets had latched onto, titled “5 Things to Know About Hurricane Season.” You can read the same article from ABC News, Yahoo news, or The Washington Times, depending on your preferred association. But no matter how you access it, the upshot seems to be that it’s a year to breathe easy. El Niño’s back, which, the article claims, means warmer weather and both fewer and less intense storms. This is great news, considering hurricane season officially began June 1st, and I would really rather work on my tan than stock up on emergency candles during all this beautiful weather.

    Except maybe not.

    The Weather Channel, acting in its official capacity as the smart kid that nobody likes, has put out its own “5 Things” list, which isn’t, but could be subtitled, “Don’t Get Too Comfortable Yet.” In particular, the article points out how complicated and unpredictable a factor El Niño is (depending on geographical location, the warmer currents of El Niño can either lessen or increase the severity of storms), and reminds us that “below average” storm systems can still be devastating.

    For those of us who live in areas that are at all prone to hurricanes, this is not the time to get casual in our preparations. Fingers crossed that we don’t have a repeat of 2004, but, as the Weather Channel put it, “Perhaps a big anniversary will remind Americans it's possible, and it could happen again.”

    In case you missed the re-post a couple of months ago, our article, “How to Prepare for a Hurricane” includes a thorough list of downloadable resources and links to our 5-part Hurricane Preparedness mini-series.

     

    What are your best tips for hurricane preparedness?

     

    -Stacey Birk

    Posted In: Uncategorized Tagged With: hurricane preparedness, Hurricane, natural disaster

  • Twin Tornadoes Touch Down in Nebraska

    Did you know tornadoes can come in pairs?

    The Instagram photo below shows the devastation that occurred on Monday, June 16th when twin tornadoes touched down in Pilger, Nebraska. At least 70% of the town was heavily damaged or destroyed. Twin tornadoes are very rare and very dangerous.

    twin tornadoes touch down in Nebraska

    Photo Courtesy of WeatherChannel.com

    According to the Weather Channel’s severe weather expert Dr. Greg Postel, “the twister was on the ground for more than an hour . . . And storm chasers in the area described the damage as ‘catastrophic.’” Two people died as a result of the storm—one a 5-year-old girl, and the other a resident from a nearby county four miles east of Pilger. At least 19 people were injured.

    Officials evacuated residents and took them to a Red Cross shelter in Omaha, Nebraska. Once evacuated, Governor Dave Henieman declared a state of emergency, calling the National Guard into the area to begin recovery efforts.

    To learn more about the recent twin twisters in Nebraska, check out these articles from the Weather Channel and CNN:

    Pilger, Nebraska takes Heavy Hit from Tornado . . .

    Twin Tornadoes Tear through Nebraska Town . . .

    To learn more about tornado preparedness and what you can do before, during, and after a tornado, check out our Insight article, Preparing for a Tornado.

    We send heartfelt wishes of recovery to the residents of Pilger, Nebraska, and the surrounding areas.

    --Angela

     

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

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