The Tragic Sarasota Tornado

This morning's news of two people killed overnight by a tornado in Sarasota, Florida, brings sadness and concern to all meteorologists. If preliminary reports are correct, the tornado occurred at 3:10 am Eastern time.

Was there a tornado watch? But, it was issued at 12:45am -- while many were sleeping. And, that is the problem. How do we reach with a tornado warning when they are sleeping? It seems that smart phones are the answer as there are apps that alarm if a tornado warning is issued in the middle of the night. But, they seem to have achieved little acceptance, so far.

AccuWeather's Steve Root has done research that indicates that years with the type of El Nino we have currently have are followed by a more active an usual spring tornado season.

So, I recommend you get a weather radio* or an app that will alarm you in the middle of the night.

*Please get your weather radio programmed properly for your home's location. If you don't, you'll quickly tire of irrelevant warnings awakening you during the night.


  1. There were also problems with the Orlando weather radio transmitter last name too. Sarasota is out of range of that, but it could have caused an issue if there had been tornadoes in this area. Having a weather radio in addition to a smartphone app or something else which creates a redundancy in how to receive warnings.

    Growing up in Kansas (under your TV warnings back in the day) I'm used to this kind of weather. People down here aren't. It's a different culture.

  2. I know I've had great success with the WeatherRadio app for iPhone from Weather Decision Technologies. They also have an app called Strike which shows lightning alerts in a particular location. I used it last year when coaching soccer to help keep the kids safe. Some parents didn't like me very much because they thought I was overreacting when they didn't think the storm was near us. When I showed them a lightning strike that occurred at least 10 miles ahead of the storm one evening, they changed their tune a bit.

    You can find more information about the Weather Radio app here: And no, I'm not a paid spokesman. Just a weather nerd that tries out all kinds of technology.

  3. WeatherRadio is a good app. Its only problem is it sometimes does not keep up with the phone's current location. So, if storms are in the forecast, make sure your location is correctly noted in the phone.

  4. Another EXCELLENT source for home warnings is WeatherCall. They call you in the middle of the night. It has the advantage of near zero false alarms.


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