Recent Storm Damage Posts

Storm Chasers

2/20/2018 (Permalink)

Storm Chasers

Majority of storm chasers are meteorologists who study and predict weather patterns. They forecast where and when a particular storm is likely to occur. They analyze past and current data to determine a precise location. They also use visualization by looking at the patterns of the clouds. They commonly use a variety of sources to predict weather, such as daily outlooks, satellite and radar maps, maps of temperatures and dewpoints, computer models, wind charts, and watches and warning information. Storm chasers use a variety of equipment, including computers, satellites, portable weather stations, Global Positioning Systems (GPS), video cameras, and anemometers to measure wind. Typically while in the field, storm chasers use cell phones with data connections to view the latest weather information. Depending on the area, there are certain storm chasing seasons where severe weather occurs more frequently.

Some storm chasers have even developed special vehicles that they believe can withstand the strength of a tornado. For example, the Tornado Intercept Vehicle 2 (TIV2) weighs about 8 tons and has other special features that would make it hard — but not impossible! — for a tornado to lift it off the ground.

Once in the path of the storm, storm chasers place scientific equipment that they hope will be picked up by the tornado. Then they retreat as quickly as possible to a safe place. If the storm picks up the equipment, the scientists can use the data it records to better understand what happens inside these dangerous storms.

 Article Source: http://www.emergency-management-degree.org/faq/what-does-a-storm-chaser-do/ and https://wonderopolis.org/wonder/why-do-some-people-chase-storms

Hurricanes

11/29/2017 (Permalink)

Hurricanes

The strongest winds in a hurricane are generally found in the right side of the hurricane’s eye wall, the area closest to the center.

Once a hurricane makes landfall, wind speed will begin to decrease, and within 12 hours will have slowed significantly. However, winds can remain at hurricane strength well inland.

Hurricanes can also spawn tornadoes, which can increase destruction. These tornadoes generally occur in the right front quadrant of the storm, and in thunderstorms embedded in the hurricane, but not immediately near the center.

Not all hurricanes produce tornadoes, while some develop multiple tornadoes. According to the National Hurricane Center, “studies have shown that more than half of the land-falling hurricanes produce at least one tornado.

How Are Hurricanes Named? One reason hurricanes are named is because more than one may exist at the same time. Names make it easier to keep track of and talk about storms.

A storm is given a name if it reaches tropical storm strength. That name stays with the storm if it goes on to become a hurricane.

Each year, tropical storms are named in alphabetical order as they occur. The names come from lists of names that are maintained and updated by the World Meteorological Organization.

There are six lists of names. Each year starts with the next list. The same lists are reused every six years. Names of storms that are very deadly or costly are removed from the lists and replaced with new names.

What Are the Parts of a Hurricane?

  • Eye: The eye is the "hole" at the center of the storm. Winds are light and skies are only partly cloudy, sometimes even clear, in this area.
  • Eye wall: The eye wall is a ring of thunderstorms swirling around the eye. The wall is where winds are strongest and rain is heaviest.
  • Rain bands: Spiral bands of clouds, rain and thunderstorms extend out from a hurricane's eye wall. These bands stretch for hundreds of miles and sometimes contain tornadoes.

Preparing Your Home

  • Hurricane winds can cause trees and branches to fall, so before hurricane season trim or remove damaged trees and limbs to keep you and your property safe.
  • Secure loose rain gutters and downspouts and clear any clogged areas or debris to prevent water damage to your property.
  • Reduce property damage by retrofitting to secure and reinforce the roof, windows and doors, including the garage doors.
  • Purchase a portable generator or install a generator for use during power outages. Remember to keep generators and other alternate power/heat sources outside, at least 20 feet away from windows and doors and protected from moisture; and NEVER try to power the house wiring by plugging a generator into a wall outlet.
  • Consider building a FEMA safe room or ICC 500 storm shelter designed for protection from high-winds and in locations above flooding levels.

After a Hurricane

  • Listen to local officials for updates and instructions.
  • Check-in with family and friends by texting or using social media.
  • Return home only when authorities indicate it is safe.
  • Watch out for debris and downed power lines.
  • Avoid walking or driving through flood waters. Just 6 inches of moving water can knock you down, and one foot of fast-moving water can sweep your vehicle away.
  • Avoid flood water as it may be electrically charged from underground or downed power lines and may hide dangerous debris or places where the ground is washed away.
  • Photograph the damage to your property in order to assist in filing an insurance claim.
  • Do what you can to prevent further damage to your property, (e.g., putting a tarp on a damaged roof), as insurance may not cover additional damage that occurs after the storm.

Article source: http://hurricanesafety.org/storm-stats/wind-damage/ and https://www.nasa.gov/audience/forstudents/5-8/features/nasa-knows/what-are-hurricanes-58.html and https://www.ready.gov/hurricanes

Pets with storm anxiety

11/28/2017 (Permalink)

Storm anxiety with pets

Clinical Signs Vary Based on Animal

While clinical signs vary, the most common reported include panting, pacing, hiding, drooling and following people through the home.2 Some animals, perhaps more severely affected, may be destructive to items in their environment. Although there have been several studies on dogs in storms, far less information is available on cats. In one study on firework anxiety, dogs exhibited more overt signs like pacing and panting, while cats hid and cowered.3 This difference is likely to occur during storms as well. While it is difficult to miss a 90-pound Labrador jumping on your bed during a storm at 2 a.m., it is easy to miss a hiding cat. This does not mean cats are any less afraid than their canine counterparts. Instead, owners have to be more vigilant for subtle signs of anxiety because cats are equally in need of treatment.

What about scolding or punishing my dog?

Do not punish your dog when he is scared, it only confirms to him that there is something to fear and will make him worse. In addition, if you are upset or anxious about your pet's behavior, this will also make your dog more anxious.

Can I do anything to reduce the impact of the noise and flashes from the fireworks or storms?

Treatment should focus first on reducing anxiety and providing an appropriate environment during storms. Once that is accomplished, the behavior can be modified through training. Behavior modification helps change the way the pet feels when it experiences the storms. However, without reducing anxiety, most pets have a difficult time learning how to be calm during storms. There are several different avenues to pursue for decreasing anxiety, including behavior training, creating safe spaces, pheromones, pressure wraps and supplements.

At the approach of thunderstorm season, try to ensure that your dog has access to a well-curtained or blacked-out room when the storm begins. Blacking out the room removes the additional problems of flashing lights, flares etc.

Provide plenty of familiar toys and games that might help to distract the pet.

Try to arrange company for your dog rather than leaving him alone in the room.

Close all the windows and doors so the sound is muffled as much as possible. Try taking your pet to a room or area of the house where the stimuli will be at their mildest and the dog can be most easily distracted. Sometimes placing nested cardboard boxes or a blanket over the cage can greatly mute the sound. Be certain however that there is enough air circulation so that the pet does not overheat.

"Ignore the noises yourself and try to involve your pet in some form of active game."

Provide background noise from the radio or television. Rap or similar music with a lot of constant drum beats does help. The volume does not have to be loud as long as the music has a strong beat that acts as a distraction and prevents him from concentrating on the noises outside. Other background noises such as a fan running or even "white" noise devices can help to block outdoor noises.

Article source: https://www.texvetpets.org/article/storm-anxiety/ and https://vcahospitals.com/know-your-pet/helping-dogs-with-severe-phobias-during-storms-and-fireworks 

Severe Spring Weather – Prepare with Red Cross Tips

3/31/2017 (Permalink)

Spring brings the threat of severe weather, which can mean heavy rain, flash flooding, damaging winds and tornadoes. The American Red Cross offers safety steps to follow if your area is affected.

 

 

FOLLOW THESE LIFESAVING SAFETY STEPS

 

TORNADOES Tornadoes can strike without warning and destroy a community in seconds. Before a tornado warning is issued for your area, here are some things you should do:

1. Know your community’s warning system.

2. Pick a place where family members can gather if a tornado is headed your way. It could be your basement or, if there is no basement, a center hallway, bathroom, or closet on the lowest floor. Keep this place uncluttered.

3. If you are in a high-rise building and don’t have enough time to go to the lowest floor, pick a place in a hallway in the center of the building.

4. Remove diseased and damaged limbs from trees.

5. Move or secure lawn furniture, trash cans, hanging plants or anything else that can be picked up by the wind and become a projectile.

 

THUNDERSTORM SAFETY STEPS Thunderstorms injure an average of 300 people every year, and cause about 80 fatalities. Here are the top thunderstorm safety steps you should follow:

1. If you can hear thunder, you are close enough to the storm to be struck by lightning. Go to safe shelter immediately.

2. As the storm approaches, take shelter in a building.

3. If you are driving, pull off the roadway and park. Stay in the car with the windows closed and turn on the emergency flashers. Avoid touching metal or other surfaces that conduct electricity in and outside of the vehicle.

4. If you are inside, unplug appliances and avoid using the telephone or any electrical appliances. Avoid taking a bath or shower, or running water for any other purpose.

5. If you are caught outside and cannot reach a safe building, avoid high ground, water, tall, isolated trees and metal objects such as fences or bleachers. Picnic shelters, dugouts and sheds are not safe.

 

FLOODING Heavy rains could fill rivers and streams, bringing flooding to the area. If your neighborhood is threatened with the possibility of flooding, here are some things you should do:

1. Be prepared to evacuate at a moment’s notice. When a flood or flash flood warning is issued for your area, head for higher ground and stay there.

2. Stay away from floodwaters.

3. If you come upon a flooded road while driving, turn around and go another way. If you are caught on a flooded road and waters are rising rapidly around you, get out of the car quickly and move to higher ground. Most cars can be swept away by less than two feet of moving water.

4. Keep children out of the water.

5. Be especially cautious at night when it is harder to recognize flood danger.

 

People should download the free Red Cross Emergency App to receive emergency alerts and information about what to do in case of tornadoes, flooding and other disasters, as well as locations of shelters. The App also includes emergency first aid information and a Family Safe feature which allows people to instantly see if loved ones are okay. The free Emergency App is available in app stores by searching for the American Red Cross or going to redcross.org/apps.

 

blog credit: http://www.redcross.org/news/article/Follow-Red-Cross-Safety-Steps-If-Severe-Weather-Possible

photo credit: http://science.howstuffworks.com/nature/climate-weather/storms/science-of-storms.htm

Rivers in the sky causing widespread chaos in California

2/21/2017 (Permalink)

Yes, there are rivers up in the sky, and they're responsible for up to 65% of the western USA's extreme rain and snow events — such as the storm that blasted Northern California on Monday — a new study finds.

Made visible by clouds, these ribbons of water vapor known as atmospheric rivers extend thousands of miles from the tropics to the western USA. They provide the fuel for the massive rainstorms and subsequent floods along the U.S. West Coast.

The study released Monday, which appeared in the peer-reviewed British journal Nature Geoscience, said it's not only the USA that sees these weather troublemakers: Globally, up to 75% of extreme precipitation events come from atmospheric rivers, said study lead author Duane Waliser, an atmospheric scientist at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory.

In western Canada, northern Europe, New Zealand and southern South America, atmospheric rivers occur on 30 to 35 days per year, Waliser said.

Though beneficial for water supplies in the western USA, these events can wreak havoc on travel, bring deadly mudslides and cause catastrophic damage to life and property, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration said.

One well-known nickname for an atmospheric river is the "Pineapple Express," which occurs when the source of the moisture is near Hawaii.  A single strong atmospheric river can transport up to 15 times the water vapor compared with the average flow of water at the mouth of the Mississippi River, according to NOAA's Earth System Research Laboratory.

This winter has been especially active for atmospheric rivers in the West, said meteorologist Jeff Zimmerman of the National Weather Service. As many as 10 separate rivers have been identified.  On average, Northern California gets five to seven atmospheric rivers per wet season, the weather service said

The onslaught has knocked out the five-year drought in Northern California. Much of the Sierra Nevada saw its rainiest and snowiest October-February period on record, the weather service said.

Though their influence on rain and snow has been studied before, one surprising new finding from the study is that up to 75% of extreme wind events in the western USA are due to atmospheric rivers.

In Europe, of the 19 windstorms that each did at least a billion U.S. dollars in damage from 1979 to 2003, 14 of those storms were due to damage from atmospheric rivers, Waliser said?.

 

blog credit: http://www.usatoday.com/story/weather/2017/02/20/atmospheric-rivers-california-storms-floods/98154504/

photo credit: http://rightweather.com/2012/09/severe-flash-flooding-in-fall-river-pictures/

 

Are You Ready for High Winds or Tornadoes?

6/3/2016 (Permalink)

Are You Ready for High Winds or Tornadoes?

Would you know how to protect yourself and others from destructive high winds or a tornado? ReadyOhio encourages everyone, young and old, to learn what to do to prepare for and recover from all hazards, including tornadoes.

Know the Terms.
A tornado watch means the potential or conditions exist for a tornado to develop. Prepare to move to shelter in the lowest level of a sturdy building. Listen to a NOAA Weather Radio or a local television or radio station for up-to-date weather information, including the development of tornado warnings.

A tornado warning means a tornado or funnel cloud has been spotted or is about to happen in or near your area. Take immediate action to seek safe shelter. Continue to listen to a NOAA Weather Radio or a local television or radio station for up-to-date weather information. Stay sheltered until the tornado warning has expired for your area.

Prepare a home tornado plan. Pick an uncluttered place in your home that is on the lowest level with no windows. The safest place is in the basement under a staircase. In the event of a tornado warning in your area, your family should know where to go in order to stay safe. If you are outside or in a mobile home, find immediate shelter in a nearby sturdy building.

Make a kit. Include a flashlight, portable radio, extra batteries, first aid kit, bottled water (at least one gallon per person per day for at least three days), nonperishable food, manual can opener, blankets or sleeping bags, protective clothing.

Protect your home against high winds. Remove diseased or damaged limbs from trees. Move or secure lawn furniture, trash cans and anything else that could become a missile-like object if picked up by strong winds or a tornado.

Consult with professionals about a "safe room". If you are building a new home or remodeling, ask about having a structurally reinforced space constructed for your family’s protection during a tornado or high winds.

Article Credit: http://ready.ohio.gov/ReadyForTornadoes.stm

Photo Credit: www.farmanddairy.com