Saturday, April 24, 2010

High risk for Day 3

The high risk certainly verified today. Looks like either a few tornadic supercells were out prowling around or 1 cyclic tornadic supercell was about laying down multi-state sorts of damage. Cant wait to see the damage survey. I wish you well Yazoo City (and all the other cities/people affected ) in your recovery efforts.

Today was a story all about large hodographs despite what can only be considered to be marginal instability (in general) but still enough to be dangerous.

Situational awareness needed to be much higher for the average citizen out there today. I cant blame the people as much as I might want to. The High and Moderate Risk areas for today was LARGE; 4 and 6 states respectively. The event was ongoing in the morning, with multiple waves of severe weather expected.

The first tornado report was listed 2.5 hours after the convective outlook was issued. We all need to be better equipped to explain and communicate the risk. Its a serious business we are in. We dont just provide information for the average person to consume. We provide meteorological information from which a serious number of people make decisions.

From the local TV and radio coverage disseminating NWS warnings, to emergency managers trained to respond to a crisis, to the fire and police department who are also trained to monitor (in a limited role) and respond. By what do real people need to know?

This phenomena is distinct. It is short lived locally (5 to 90 minutes). Can occur in waves or epsiodes. They can be misleading. One storm can be tornadic and depending on your position can come "out of nowhere", be right in front of you for 10 minutes, or appear to be suddenly upon you though you didnt think it was that close. The local motion of the storm and the tornado may be different. The storm itself may not be that visible.

1. should you travel during the storm? Check the radar. Read about the people who had their kids in the car and were caught in the storm as power lines and trees pummeled them. They claimed taking the kids out of the carseat was a good idea when they hid inside the car. A tree hit them apparently damaging the car where one child would have been. I dont want to know what would have happened if the car became airborne in that situation.

2. should you flee the storm and drive somewhere else? No. Read the article about the people who drove to the family restaurant to hide in the freezer. They ended up in the restaurant ... in their car ...thrown by the tornado they were trying to hide from.

If you are out, stay put. its easier to find shelter where you are than to relocate and find shelter.
If you are home, the basement of a well built house, or a bathroom on the lowest floor s the best option (not necessarily safe though; remember we are talking about tornado's ... they make cars fly far).