Wednesday, June 12, 2013

The Storms Begin

Since yesterday morning, you've been reading about the threat of a derecho forming in the north central United States and moving across the Midwest today and tonight. Unfortunately, it appears that scenario is starting to occur.

AccuWeather Regional Radar shows two clusters of thunderstorms in the North Central U.S. at 5:15am CDT.
The cluster along the Minnesota-Iowa border will likely move east southeast and will affect air travel at both Chicago airports before noon. The thunderstorms farther northwest will affect the hub at Minneapolis. Things will go downhill from there for air travel. If you are traveling to or through those cities or Detroit, Indianapolis, Cleveland, Cincinnnati, Pittsburgh or other cities in the region, be proactive. Tonight, Dulles will be affected. Here is my Airline Crisis Survival Guide.

You can see updated regional radar from AccuWeather throughout the day here.

Here is the forecast for tornadoes today:
Please note the hatched area is where violent tornadoes may occur.

For damaging winds:
Where you see the hatching, wind gusts above 75 mph are possible.

And, hail:
Where you see the hatching, hailstones large than 2" in diameter are possible.

So, for example, in Chicago you have a real risk of a tornado along with large hail driven by extremely high winds. Wind-driven hail can be highly destructive.

I published some of this yesterday to help people prepare:

  • Fill your car's gas tank, then have it in the garage before the storms arrive.
  • If you have a generator, fill its tank. 
  • Bring in lawn furniture, trampolines, etc.
  • Flashlight with fresh batteries
  • Full charge for cell phones, laptops and other items
  • Get a power inverter that can be run from your car
  • If you must keep items chilled (i.e., medicines), get a portable generator you can place outdoors that you can plug in a refrigerator directly
  • Use a licensed electrician to install a generator directly wired into your home's system
  • Regardless of an inverter or portable generator, get extension cords long enough to reach from the generator or inverter to whatever you wish to hook it to
  • Any items such as milk 
  • Refill any prescriptions about the run out
This video taken in Maryland during last year's June derecho gives you can idea what to expect. You can hear the sound of the wind. Once the transformers start "exploding" the power goes out. The power stays out for 36 hours and he was without internet for 94 hours! 

The time to make preparations is now. If you live in the threatened area, please monitor the weather today.

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