Update 2: Warning About Severe Weather in the Plains

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Regular readers of YourWeatherBlog are aware of the severe weather event beginning to take shape in the Plains. If you’re just tuning in, read the two previous severe weather entries.

Today’s post is not to bring you up to speed on these meteorological events from the beginning but rather to update the warning about the potentially deadly weather situation beginning to form across the infamous Tornado Alley over the coming 72 hours.

The StormWatch-identified area most at risk for severe thunderstorms and potentially numerous strong and long-track tornadoes. Valid April 13-15. In the course of the typical year, it's not often we identify a high risk of such severe weather. Image: ImpactWeather StormWatch

As of now there are no watches or warnings from the National Weather Service in effect for any regions in the Plains. However, they’re looking at the same situation that our ImpactWeather StormWatch team is looking at and since they expect much of the activity to begin later this afternoon and tonight, their bulletins are likely not far off. StormWatch has continued to refine the areas most at risk this weekend and the confidence level in this significant weather event remains high. See graphic at left.

Whether the weather situation is a hurricane, an ice storm, a tornado outbreak or a heat wave, our advice remains the same: Active preparation, no matter the forecast. As the event draws near it is imperative to stay informed by your weather information source of choice. Be aware of the advisories in place and have your emergency plan ready. As for the potential tornado outbreak in the coming hours, it’s probably too late to prepare an emergency kit and it’s too late to practice your emergency procedures. It’s not too late, however, to brief your family on the weather situation, what to do and where to go, and who to call if it all goes wrong.  NOAA has a full list of tornado safety tips here. A quick internet search will yield numerous sites devoted to tornado safety, such as TorndaoProject and Ready.gov.

As the event begins to unfold, it remains imperative to monitor the weather situation. An eye on the sky and an ear to the radio are good places to start. Smart phones can bring you the latest radar images and automated alerts from your favorite TV stations and other sources. If time allows, check in with your family who, like most Americans, may be scattered across the county in school, at work or on the road. Make sure they are aware of the situation and that they know the family emergency plan may need to be activated. Be aware that severe weather often takes cell towers offline and that cell phones should not be your first or only means of communication.

Lastly, when the weather situation is over it’s time to assess damages and injuries (if any) while establishing contact with those unable to reach your safe place. Continue listening to your sources of weather information as additional severe weather may be threatening. When the dust settles and time allows, it’s time to reassess your emergency procedures to ensure that what worked is reinforced and that what didn’t is refined so that it works properly if/when there is a next time.

The 23rd Annual Hurricane Seminar for Business and Industry is on Wednesday, May 23rd at the Houston Hobby Airport Hilton. Click for more information and to register.


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