Severe Weather Preparedness Week

It’s the time of year again, when we start gearing up for severe weather – and it crucial to sort of “check-in” and touch-base on the watches/warnings that are posted and what they mean for you.  Wait, don’t tune out!!  This is meaningful stuff!!  Now, I know most of you will likely put your little ear-buds in and “pretend to listen” for the following important message. However, I encourage you to buckle your safety belts, take that little “safety-information-card” out of your seat-back pocket, and review this vital information to help us help you! :c)

This week (May 1-5th) is Severe Weather Preparedness Week. It is that time of year – and severe weather happens even here in New England.  While this isn’t your typical weather blog, or written forecast, I’d like to take this time to “catch up” on the valuable information the NWS has posted in the last three days (Mon-Wed).  All of this info is so very useful and crucial to review!!  In the case of severe weather, it is our job to provide important and up-to-the-minute information so that YOU can be prepared. The rhyme I tell students when I do school visits is, “Don’t be scared. Be prepared!”

MONDAY’S TOPIC:  Severe Thunderstorms

TUESDAY’S TOPIC:  Lightning and Thunderstorms  Remember this rhyme too, “When thunder roars, go indoors!”  If you can hear thunder, you are close enough to the storm to be struck by lightning.  Take shelter in the nearest building.  That means YOU, Golfer.  Statistically speaking, men are more likely to be struck by lightning than women.  I’ll let you draw your own conclusions as to why that may be.

WEDNESDAY’S TOPIC:  Understanding Severe Risk  Do you ever watch the forecast and wonder, “what do those colors mean?!”  The Storm Prediction Center (governmental forecasters) will issue forecasts for the risk for severe weather that look like this:

Here’s how those risk categories break down:

THURSDAY’S TOPIC:  Tornadoes

With technology improving daily, it gives meteorologists the opportunity to provide better lead time (time to prepare) in the event of a tornado… which will hopefully save lives!!  However, it’s up to YOU to head the warnings and act.  Remember, “Don’t be scared. Be prepared!”  While our area may only average a few tornadoes each year (most brief and weak; EF0 or EF1) it DOES happen here!

If a Tornado WATCH is issued for your surrounding area, it means we are “watching out” for conditions that are favorable for producing a tornado. If a Tornado WARNING is issued for your surrounding area it means ACT NOW! When a WARNING is issued, it means a tornado is either happening NOW or appears as though it could be occurring (or could touch down soon) based on radar and spotter information.

The picture below is from August 22 2016, when an EF1 tornado tore through Concord, Massachusetts. This tornado happened late at night, when most of us were sleeping. It’s always important to stay vigilant!

FRIDAY’S TOPIC:  Downburst Winds

During the spring and summer, we’ll often track severe thunderstorms. If a Severe Thunderstorm Warning pops up in your surrounding area (much like a Tornado Warning), it means ACT NOW! Severe criteria for a thunderstorm would be a storm producing hail of at least 1″ in diameter and/or wind gusts of 58mph or greater.  While not turning winds, like a tornado, downburst winds (straight-line winds) have been responsible for some major damage!  You’ll often hear us talk about “micro-bursts” or “macro-bursts.” A strong downburst wind can be very powerful and cause a lot of damage – so a Severe Thunderstorm Warning should be taken as seriously as any other weather warning! In the case of a Severe Thunderstorm Warning, the same advice applies: TAKE SHELTER! Get to a basement, or if you have no basement, get to the inner-most room of your home, away from outside walls and windows.
For more information on any or all of these topics, visit http://www.weather.gov/box/SevereWeatherPreparednessWeek.
Now sit tight with your seat-backs upright and your tray table properly stowed – and on behalf of us all here in the 7 Weather Department, enjoy your flight through spring and summer!  We’ll keep you posted on any anticipated turbulence along the way.  Just keep notice of the “fasten your seatbelt light” just below the overhead-bins, and when it’s illuminated:  Don’t be scared, be prepared!  – Breezy