Meteorologist Paul Douglas updates a daily blog of relevant and important stories related to weather, severe storms, meteorology and climate change.
Wednesday, May 6, 2009
Could you survive a tornado at home?
(May and June is prime time for tornadoes in Minnesota. If this is a typical year at least 25-30 tornadoes will spin up in the skies overhead. Most likely around the dinner hour, 4 pm to 7 pm, less than 1 in 500 thunderstorms will ever become severe enough to spawn a tornado. Tip-offs include large hail, a lowering [rotating] cloud base, and frequent lightning. At home the safest place to ride out a tornadic storm is still your basement, under the stairs, under a heavy piece of furniture, like a table or bench, if available. This will reduce the risk of injury from falling debris. If you don't have a basement find a small, interior room, like a closet or bathroom, away from outer walls and windows. Many people have survived tornadoes by seeking shelter in their bathtubs! One last note: don't wait for the sirens to sound to take action, keep in mind that the sirens were only ever meant to be heard outdoors. The NWS does a good job issuing watches when conditions are ripe, and warnings when tornadoes are sighted on Doppler or by professional [Skywarn} storm spotters, but they can't catch every single twister, in advance. Exercise common sense. If winds pick up suddenly, if hail reaches ping pong ball size or greater, if you see an ominous, greenish tint to the sky, better safe than sorry. Head for the basement and err on the side of safety!)
Forsyth County, NC -- Some Triad families are about to mark the anniversary of a tornado that tore apart their neighborhood. Some have been back in their rebuilt homes for just three weeks, and say they're better prepared to face this storm season.Eveline and Jim Smart won't be caught unaware if a tornado threatens again. They have weather radios upstairs and downstairs now.They've also made it harder for high winds to tear open their house, with hurricane straps in their roof. "They will hold your roof on," says Eveline. and "If the roof had held, we might not have had all the water damage."
Welcome to my weather blog. Every day I sift through hundreds of stories, maps, graphics and meteorological web sites, trying to capture some of the most interesting weather nuggets, the stories behind the forecast. I'll link to stories and share some of the web sites I use.
I'm still passionate about the weather, have been ever since Tropical Storm Agnes flooded my home in Lancaster, PA in 1972. I've started 5 weather-related companies. "EarthWatch" created the world's first 3-D weather graphics for TV stations - Steven Spielberg used our software in "Jurassic Park" and "Twister". My last company, "Digital Cyclone", personalized weather for cell phones. "My-Cast" was launched in 2001 and is still going strong on iPhone, Android and Blackberry. I sold DCI to Garmin in 2007 so I could focus on my latest venture: WeatherNation.
Twitter name: pdouglasweather