Sunday, November 17, 2013

Storms in November


Typically the month of November means Fall weather and families getting ready for Thanksgiving.  We don't normally associate November for a month for bad weather.  


I spent a good portion of today following national weather headlines (obviously more than a normal person would).   What caught my attention today is how unprepared the general public is about warning for severe weather.   I find it curious how sports fans in Chicago fill a stadium when there were ample tornado warnings going on at the time today.    Not very far from Chicago a strong tornado hit Washington IL.  The storm that produced this tornado was triggered by a large sweeping cold front moving east and it has been causing severe weather in a large area of the country.   (it is not over yet). 

I have not been studying the weather for much time and I have said before that I am not a pro (a Meteorologist) but I have watched the local news almost on a daily basis.  I can understand why the 6 o'clock news could put off some viewers due to negative stories about curruption, images of war and natural desasters that are of far away places.  I guess I am part of a select few who follow news and study about the weather that sets me apart from the general public.   This is why I am a volunteer and why I became a Storm Spotter.   I have been through a really bad flood and I was totally uniformed of the weather event that hit the area I was located at the time.   I did not want to see people caught off guard like I was (I could have drowned or had a bad car accident).

  • Social media is one possible way to inform the public.  

I have spoken to a few experts that are not really fans of using social media to communicate with the public for emergencies. However most people do not want to buy a NOAA radio because they are either complicated to program or most folks simply do not want a alarm going off when a strong thunderstorm is upon us.
 I have written a few times before about FEMA, NOAA and The American Red Cross and their efforts to notify the public.  They even set up warning systems to trigger alerts in smartphones, however i recently heard that many people complained of false alarms and most people deactivated the alerts.    Apparently we have a no win situation except that I can try to post low key warnings on social medial well in advance of the storm.  I know that I do  not many followers however, if more people would do the same, we could have a better chance of reaching more people that are connected online.

If anyone has suggestions to improve communication to the public, (I am all ears)   Please tell me..

Cell phones are great, however they have limited battery time during a power outages and high winds can knock down cellphone towers.  I will not let this keep me plugging away posting weather info.

The National Weather Service issues a briefing when there is a possible severe weather event.
I hate to cry wolf and it seems sometimes that I may have hyped up a few storms however my intent is to help people be ready and not drive into a storm where they could be risking life and limb.
The NWS briefing that was issued today (11/17/13) describles an event of rain and possible strong wind gusts.  When there is an event like this we might not see much, but then surprise we have a strong wind even that knocks a large tree on your house.

So isn't better to pay attention to the news and try to learn how weather warnings work?

A big Thank You to the Mt. Holly NWS office in NJ for their warnings.

Actual full NWS Briefing - click here