It's not often that I stop what I'm doing and read an article, especially ones posted at one of the websites I dislike the most -- the Huffington Post. There's been much buzz over meteorologist Paul Douglas, the Minnesota weatherman and owner of The Weather Channel's rising rival WeatherNation TV, after he penned a blog post last week about being a Republican and a believer in climate change.
He penned another blog post this afternoon with one of the most sobering takes on tornado outbreaks I've seen in a long time. He starts the article by talking about the Texas tornadoes yesterday, leading to the fact that stronger tornadoes are frequently occurring outside the public's idea of "tornado alley" -- the center of the country that has springtime tornadoes just as reliably as the sun rises each morning.
Douglas leads into the next part of the post with this sobering quote from meteorologist-slash-structural-engineer Tim Marshall: "One of these days we're going to have 1,000 or more deaths from a single tornado somewhere in the United States." Marshall and Douglas go on to explain that, as we build more developments and pack ourselves closer together than ever before, we're sitting ducks for a very large, very violent tornado to come through and destroy hundreds of homes in one fell swoop.
The post goes into great detail about some of the most common mistakes people make in tornado outbreaks (looking for the tornado before doing anything, for instance), knowing the signs of a tornado, and a very long list of things you can do to protect yourself during a severe weather situation.
I'm morally against linking to the HuffPo, but Douglas' read is just that good. Click here to read his full article.
To reiterate some of Mr. Douglas' points...
- Get a weather radio.
- If you have an iPod Touch or an iPhone, download the "iMap Weather Radio App." It sounds a loud tone on your iPod/iPhone with warnings for both your home and your current GPS location. Trust me, it is well worth the $9.99. I find that it often goes off a few seconds before my actual NOAA Weather Radio goes off.
- Sign up for an email or text message warning service. Most local news stations have some sort of email/text message service to automatically send you a warning for the local counties of your choosing.
- Educate yourself on what to look for in weather products when severe weather threatens. I plan on writing a diary tomorrow on how to track severe weather yourself using the free tools available to you on the internet.
Enough bloviating on my end. Go read the post from Paul Douglas.
7:54 PM PT: PS -- if you like Paul Douglas, do him and your fellow citizens a favor and write your local cable or satellite company and tell them to add WeatherNation TV. It's a viable alternative to The Weather Channel, which has switched to entertainment since NBC bought it in the mid-naughts. It's already been picked up by numerous cable companies in Florida, Arkansas, and a few other states.