Tuesday, May 14, 2019

In the Great Plains or Mississippi River Valley? Get Your Preliminary Tornado and Flood Preparation Done NOW!

[Important: Please pass this on to friends and 
relatives in the areas to be affected.]

If you scroll down to Sunday's articles you'll see that I posted what was for me an unprecedented forecast on this blog. I attempted to forecast tornado and flood risk a week and more in advance. This is due to the fact that I am out of town with the family for the funeral of my Aunt tomorrow (scroll down) and I have a very ill family member in the hospital. In spite of limited time this week,  my I want to let you know about this major storm risk.

I just had about 45-minutes to myself and I decided to look at the forecast data. I'm sorry to report that I have a one-word reaction: Worried.

This concern is on two levels: The risk of violent tornadoes (we haven't had one in the US in nearly three years) will be much higher than normal. The risk of flooding and flash flooding will also be high if this weather pattern evolves as forecasted. 

Michael Ventrice of WSI posted this experimental product of theirs which forecasts (in the aggregate) the probability of tornadoes and severe thunderstorms (defined as producing large hail and damaging winds) during the same period of time as my forecast. 
Please note how much this resembles the forecast map I posted Sunday:
Confidence is building that we could experience a major to, perhaps, historic (in terms of number of days or storms) severe weather outbreak. 

At this point, there is no way to get more specific as to locations and exact storm intensities. So, please allow me offer some important recommendations to allow you to prepare -- now!
  • Make your smartphone weather-smart. Add the AccuWeather App. It will provide you urgent, location-specific NWS warnings faster than any other source. Turn the volume up so you will hear when a warning is received. 
  • Then, turn on the government's WEA emergency notifications. On an iPhone, go to "Settings" (the "gear" symbol) from your main menu." Then, as shown below, tap "Notifications." 
Once you have tapped Notifications, scroll down to the bottom and turn on Emergency Alerts.
While not as fast or as location-specific as NWS warnings provided by the AccuWeather App, the WEA tones will wake you up at night if the phone is next to your bed. So, you want both. Because WEA only triggers for tornado and flash flood warnings you don't have the false alarm problem that you have with many NOAA Weather Radios. Please make sure family and friends have done this.

Other Safety Suggestions
  • Get fresh batteries for your weather radio and install them. 
  • Clear out your storm shelter area. Add a bottle of water for each member of the family. Two diapers for each infant. A flashlight with fresh batteries. We have some valuable scrap books that we pre-locate in the basement. 
  • Keep your smartphone and computer charged but take them off the chargers before lightning arrives. 
  • Can't hurt to pick up some extra cash at the ATM. Keep your fuel tank filled.
  • If you live in an area prone to flooding, get a "go-kit" ready -- things you need (including totable family heirlooms) to take with you in an evacuation and have them pre-gathered. 
  • Remember critical medicines for your go-kit or to take into your shelter with you. 
Please get these things done by Thursday evening. Then, start monitoring the weather Friday morning and for the next week if you live in the threatened areas. 

I fully realize that I'm out on a limb and all of this might not come to pass. If you prepare and nothing happens, I'll gladly read your nastygram. I'd love to be wrong! I will probably have time to update this forecast Friday morning and will do so if I can. 

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