Tuesday, May 28, 2019

Major Tornado Risk This Afternoon and Overnight

I am extremely worried about tornadoes this afternoon and tonight. Let's break down the threats:
Brown (5%) is the significant tornado risk. There are two areas at risk.

One in the Upper Ohio River Valley from Ohio to Pennsylvania and New Jersey. This includes Cleveland, Pittsburgh, Philadelphia and Newark.

The second is in the Midwest. The yellow area is 10% and the red is a high 15%. Hatching means that violent tornadoes are possible. This includes Kansas City, Topeka, and St. Joseph. The NWS Storm Prediction Center made this map and I agree with one exception. I would have brought the hatching down to Wichita. Giant hail is possible in the tornado threat areas along and north of the Missouri River.

What Should I Do Now?
Below are safety suggestions you can implement now, before the storms begin:
  • Because of the higher than average overnight tornado risk, I strongly recommend downloading both the AccuWeather app (scroll down to bottom of page). Be sure to allow location services. 
  • Making sure you have turned the emergency notification feature (ENF) your smartphone. Easy instructions are below. 
  • If you are in the threat area, put your (fully charged!) smartphone with the AW App and the ENF turned on next to your bed! Turn on your weather radio. You want to be awakened if a tornado warning is issued. 
  • Insure your PC and phone are fully charged but take them off the charger before lightning arrives.
  • Put any family heirlooms (scrapbooks, etc.) into your shelter area now. 
  • Have a flashlight (check the batteries), a couple bottles of water and diapers in your shelter area. Take your cell phone into shelter with you. 
  • Always wear shoes into your shelter. 
Here is how to turn your smartphone into a tornado alarm. The AccuWeather App and the FCC's WEA ENF are a good combination. On an iPhone, go to "Settings" (the "gear" icon) and then choose notifications (arrow).

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 and the volume is turned up. 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.

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