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Stayin' Alive: How To Survive A Tornado
By Rich Muellerleile
7/26/12 - 3:20 pm
7/26/12 - 3:20 pm
Above: A map showing the categorical outlook for today's predicted storms. Source: NOAA.
Welcome to summer weather, folks! As a countless number of sources are screaming for you to stay indoors and batten down the hatches this afternoon and evening, we figured we would jump on the bandwagon and provide you with a little more information on the impending doom complete with definitions and maps.
So as most of you out in internet-land know from the tens of thousands of Tweets, Alerts, and Facebook posts warning of the impending Apocalypse- the significant threat for our area are damaging Wind Gusts, Large Hail, Tornadoes, and Flash Flooding. The Weather Service has placed our region in a moderate risk category for these events. See the below poorly punctuated official statement from the National Weather Service for some important information regarding specific life, safety and property damage potential (WHY ARE THEY ALWAYS YELLING?).
...SEVERE THUNDERSTORMS LIKELY THIS AFTERNOON AND EVENING...
THE NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE STORM PREDICTION CENTER HAS PLACED
A LARGE AREA OF EASTERN NEW YORK AND ADJACENT WESTERN NEW ENGLAND INTO A MODERATE RISK FOR SEVERE THUNDERSTORMS ON THURSDAY. AT THIS TIME...THE HIGHER PROBABILITY FOR SEVERE WEATHER IS ALONG AND SOUTH OF INTERSTATE 90. HERE ARE SOME SAFETY TIPS TO HELP YOU PREPARE IN THE EVENT OF SIGNIFICANT WEATHER.
THE TERM TORNADO WATCH OR SEVERE THUNDERSTORM WATCH MEANS CONDITIONS ARE FAVORABLE FOR DEVELOPMENT OF SEVERE WEATHER IN THE DESIGNATED AREA. DURING A WATCH...THERE IS NO CAUSE FOR IMMEDIATE CONCERN. YOU SHOULD KEEP ABREAST OF WEATHER DEVELOPMENTS FROM LOCAL MEDIA...NOAA WEATHER RADIO ALL HAZARDS AND FROM A VARIETY OF ONLINE RESOURCES. PUBLIC SAFETY OFFICIALS SHOULD...HOWEVER... ACTIVATE PREARRANGED PLANS.
A WARNING...ON THE OTHER HAND...MEANS A SEVERE THUNDERSTORM OR
TORNADO HAS BEEN OBSERVED OR INDICATED BY RADAR. PEOPLE IN THE PATH OF THE STORM SHOULD TAKE IMMEDIATE PRECAUTIONS AS OUTLINED HERE...
TORNADOES ARE NATURES MOST VIOLENT STORMS. IN A HOME...ONE OF THE BEST SHELTERS IS IN THE BASEMENT UNDER HEAVY FURNITURE AND WHERE OVERHEAD SUPPORT AND PROTECTION IS GREATEST. IF THERE IS NO BASEMENT...GO TO THE CENTER OF THE HOUSE ON THE LOWEST FLOOR. GET INTO A CLOSET...INTERIOR HALL...AND OR UNDER HEAVY FURNITURE. COVER YOURSELF WITH A HEAVY BLANKET OR SIMILAR OBJECT. IN A
SCHOOL...OFFICE...OR OTHER TYPE OF INSTITUTIONAL BUILDING...GO
QUICKLY TO A BASEMENT IF AVAILABLE. IF NONE...GO TO A CENTRAL HALL
OR CORRIDOR ON THE LOWEST FLOOR. KEEP AWAY FROM OUTSIDE
WALLS...DOORS AND WINDOWS. STAY OUT OF AUDITORIUMS OR GYMNASIUMS.
IF IN OPEN COUNTRY OR IN A CAR AND YOU CANNOT AVOID THE PATH OF THE
STORM...GET INTO A REINFORCED BUILDING OR INTO A
DITCH...DEPRESSION...OR CULVERT. IF YOU ARE IN A MOBILE
HOME...WHETHER IT IS TIED DOWN OR NOT...ABANDON IT AND GO TO A
COMMUNITY SHELTER OR REINFORCED BUILDING...OR GET INTO A
SEVERE THUNDERSTORMS PRODUCE STRONG DAMAGING WINDS OF 58 MPH OR GREATER...LARGE HAIL AT LEAST ONE INCH IN DIAMETER OR
GREATER...HEAVY RAIN AND DEADLY LIGHTNING. WINDS IN EXCESS OF 58
MPH CAN PUSH OVER SHALLOW ROOTED TREES...BREAK OFF TREE LIMBS ABOUT THE SIZE OF YOUR WRIST...AND DAMAGE CHIMNEYS AND TV ANTENNAS. IN RARE OCCASIONS SEVERE THUNDERSTORMS CAN PRODUCE WINDS IN EXCESS OF 80 MPH WHICH COULD BREAK WINDOWS...PEEL SURFACES OFF OF ROOFS... SNAP LARGE TREES AND MOVE TRAILER HOMES AND AUTOMOBILES. ONE INCH IN DIAMETER HAIL OR LARGER CAN DAMAGE WINDOWS...VEHICLES...AND EXTERIOR FINISHES OF BUILDINGS...ESPECIALLY IF ACCOMPANIED BY SEVERE WINDS.
PERSONS SHOULD STAY INDOORS AND AWAY FROM AREAS WITH LOOSE ITEMS THAT COULD BECOME FLYING DEBRIS. SEVERE THUNDERSTORMS CAN AND OCCASIONALLY DO PRODUCE TORNADOES SO BE PREPARED TO MOVE TO AN APPROPRIATE SHELTER SHOULD IT BECOME NECESSARY. LIGHTNING IS ONE OF THE WORST KILLERS...SO STAY INDOORS AND AVOID USING ELECTRICAL APPLIANCES. WHEN THUNDER ROARS...HEAD INDOORS. YOU SHOULD GET OUT OF OPEN FIELDS AND OFF OF FARM OR OTHER TYPES OF HEAVY EQUIPMENT. AVOID TOWERS OR TALL TREES. IF ON A BOAT OR SWIMMING...GET OUT OF THE WATER AND TO SHORE AS QUICKLY AS POSSIBLE. ALSO AVOID AREAS SUBJECT TO FLASH FLOODING.
FLASH FLOODING IS A RAPID RISE OF WATER ALONG A STREAM OR LOW-LYING URBAN AREA. FLASH FLOOD DAMAGE AND MOST FATALITIES TEND TO OCCUR IN AREAS IMMEDIATELY ADJACENT TO A STREAM...DUE TO A COMBINATION OF HEAVY RAIN OR A DAM BREAK. FLASH FLOODS CAN BE PRODUCED WHEN SLOW MOVING OR MULTIPLE THUNDERSTORMS OCCUR OVER THE SAME AREA. IF A FLASH FLOOD WARNING IS ISSUED FOR YOUR AREA...DO NOT DRIVE IF YOU DO NOT HAVE TOO. REMEMBER... TURN AROUND DON`T DROWN. PEOPLE SHOULD NEVER PLAY AROUND HIGH WATER...STORM DRAINS...VIADUCTS...STREAMS OR RIVERS. DO NOT CAMP OR PARK ALONG STREAMS OR RIVERS AS RAPID WATER RISES MAY PLACE YOU IN HARMS WAY.
IF YOU LOSE POWER...AND PLAN TO USE A PORTABLE POWER GENERATOR
IN YOUR HOME BE CAREFUL. OBSERVE ALL SAFETY PRECAUTIONS TO AVOID
CARBON MONOXIDE POISONING...ELECTROCUTION...OR A FIRE. PORTABLE
GENERATORS SHOULD ONLY BE OPERATED OUTDOORS IN A DRY AND WELL
FOR MORE INFORMATION...PLEASE VISIT HTTP://WWW.READY.GOV
YOUR ALBANY NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE ONLINE AT
WE ARE ALSO ON FACEBOOK AT
The truly interesting tidbit about today is that the potential for a “Derecho.” Per the Weather Channel, a Derecho is a large clusters of thunderstorms that produce widespread wind damage, usually as a result of one or more curved lines of thunderstorms known as bow echoes. The word in the Spanish language means "straight" and these windstorms leave wide, long swaths of straight-line wind damage. These winds can be as strong as 50 to 100 mph (or higher). Their impact is somewhat like a landfalling hurricane and their affect is much broader than that of a tornado. Derechos are most prevalent in the late Spring or Summer months- particularly in May, June, and July. This threat compounds the potential for widespread long term power outages, and downed trees.
The time of greatest threat today is around 2 PM lasting until around 10 PM. Storms more than likely will develop over the areas to the west first - then move towards the Hudson River. Strong storms are possible well into evening with a potential for lingering storms after 10 pm. The remaining storms will gradually weaken over time.
Our official recommendation: Stay indoors and batten down the hatches! In the event of a prolonged power outage, be sure to check on your neighbors that are elderly, or have young children. Stay safe out there!
Rich Muellerleile is the captain of the Shandaken Ambulance Service. He posts regular Catskills safety tips in his column, Stayin' Alive.
Below: More storm maps showing predicted wind speed, hail probability, and tornado probability. Source: NOAA.
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