Most of us are happy it is Spring here in the high country. While spring and summer are traditionally viewed as peak seasons for severe weather, increasingly severe storms can develop at any time of the year. During the first three months of 2017 alone, more than 350 tornadoes were confirmed in the United States by the National Weather Service. It is important to review what the various National Weather Service alerts mean.
- Severe Thunderstorm Watch. That means that conditions are favorable for a severe thunderstorm in the area(s) covered under the watch. A Severe Thunderstorm Warning That means that a severe thunderstorm has been spotted in the area either visually or via Doppler Radar. This could mean high winds, lightning and heavy rain.
- Severe Thunderstorm Warning. Severe Thunderstorm Warning is issued when severe thunderstorms are occurring or imminent in the warning area. Severe thunderstorms are defined as having Winds of 58 mph or higher and may also have hail 1-inch dia. or larger.
- Tornado Watch. That means the conditions are favorable for a tornado in the area(s) covered under the Tornado Watch. You do not need to take cover, but you should keep an eye on the conditions and stay near a radio/tv/weather radio.
- Tornado Warning. That means that a tornado has been spotted in the area covered either visually by someone on the ground or via Doppler Radar. That means take cover immediately.
- High Wind Advisory This advisory is issued when sustained winds of 31 to 39 mph for an hour or more with wind gusts of 46 to 57 mph for any duration conditions are expected.
- High Wind Warning This warning is issued when sustained winds of 40 mph or higher for one hour or more with wind gusts of 58 mph or higher for any duration are expected:
- Extreme Wind Warning. A warning is issued for surface winds of 115 MPH or greater associated with non-convective, downslope, derecho (NOT associated with a tornado), or sustained hurricane winds are expected to occur within one hour.
- Flood Watch & Warning. A Watch is issued when conditions are favorable for flooding. It does not mean flooding will occur, but it is possible. A Flood Warning is issued when flooding is imminent or occurring. Seek high ground now!
- Heat Advisory A Heat Advisory is issued when the heat index value is expected to reach 10
0 to 104 degrees within the next 12 to 24 hours. A Heat Advisory may be issued for lower criteria if it is early in the season or during a multi-day heat wave
Recognizing the devastating consequences of severe storms
With incredible force, storms are capable of impacting thousands of lives in just minutes. Being aware of the kind of destruction that can happen is important as you prepare for the possibility of severe weather in your area. Severe weather isn’t something to be taken lightly, because there is a large possibility for property damage, power outages, business interruptions and even loss of life.
Every division, crew, team, and group supervisor should have an outline in place to monitoring, communicate and respond to changes in weather conditions, severe weather advisories and alert employees. As an employee be sure recent changes to your address, phone and contact info is up to date with your supervisor and HR Department. What is on file, and in our smart devices, is what will be used to contact you and your family in case of emergency. Don’t let your guard down, even on clear days. Eventually, severe weather will strike our community. At home be sure to enroll in your city and county Code Red program for storm and incident alerts through your phone.
One of the most important aspects is to stay alert to changing weather conditions. Some of the most common sources for severe weather notification include live television and radio, weather radios, computer desktop websites and smartphone applications. New technologies have increased our ability to stay alert to changing weather conditions. Some applications provide automated text messages and emails that are particularly useful ways to receive timely alerts and forecasts. Check out Weather.com, Weatherbug.com and AccuWeather.com.
The bottom line is to be knowledgeable of the dangers of severe storms. Be aware of changing weather conditions, use technology to respond quickly and aid monitoring conditions, and try to keep everyone safe when severe weather strikes.
“Weather does not discriminate. Everyone should always be prepared to address disaster.”
Noel Lee, CEO Monster Cable Inc