Get prepared: Wednesday's storms are first severe threat of 2016
Posted February 23
For the first time this year, the forecast includes the likelihood for severe storms across our area tomorrow, primarily during the late morning and afternoon hours. A recent statement from the Raleigh National Weather Service office said pockets of straight-line wind damage were a “near certainty,” and they expect to be issuing tornado warnings as it plays out.
We’ve been thinking a lot about wintry weather as of late, and we haven’t needed our severe weather plans for quite a while. And while we have a statewide severe weather awareness week, the atmosphere doesn’t have to follow our schedules.
So, with all that in mind, would you mind spending a few minutes NOW thinking about these things with me?
- First things first – Do you have multiple ways to get severe weather warnings? Personally, I have WeatherCall, the WRAL Weather Alert App, the “Wireless Emergency Alerts” that come on my cell phone and a NOAA Weather Radio — all in addition to TV and radio. (Why multiple? Power goes out, cell phone batteries get drained, communication channels get swamped, and so on.)
- What are your plans tomorrow? Will you be outdoors or somewhere unfamiliar midday through afternoon?
- Where would you take shelter if storms came while you were at work? At home? If your kids spend any time at home after school alone, how will they get warnings and do they know where the best shelter area is?
- Are you a manager, supervisor, teacher, principal or anyone who is responsible for people other than yourself? Are you familiar with your organization’s severe weather plans and shelter locations?
- So, you know what your shelter spot is, but is it ready? Ours is a closet that tends to collect stuff.Time to clean it out!
- Will your plans have you on the road at all during this time? Avoid driving during severe weather at all — even more so if a tornado warning is issued.
- Do you keep your mobile phones, tablets, laptops, and so forth all charged and ready to go?
For most of us, none of these things are really new. Plus, we often get the opportunity to think about these things during a severe weather awareness week and our annual tornado drills or with some smaller weather events early in the season. Unfortunately, it doesn’t look like the atmosphere is going to give us the extra time this year.
Bottom line: TODAY is the day to plan and get ready. A period of rough weather is likely tomorrow! Think through your day and take a few simple steps NOW to help keep you and your family safe.