15 New Rules for Surviving Severe Weather
The Most Common Rules
for preparation in this potentially-dangerous weather timeframe in Alabama and any part of the United States (where these storms are known) are:
- Never stand or sit near a window if a severe thunderstorm or tornado warning has been issued for your area.
- If a tornado (twister) is spotted on the ground in your area, go to the smallest room of the house and cover yourself with a material that will absorb the sudden energy from a tornado such as a small mattress.
- If you cannot get to the smallest room of your house, go to the hallway and get on the floor.
These rules were approved and endorsed by the National Weather Service for the protection and preservation of lives in the areas most affected by severe weather.
The Science of
a tornado is a violently rotating column of air that spins while in contact with both the surface of the Earth and a cumulonimbus cloud or, in rare cases, the base of a cumulus cloud. They are often referred to as twisters, whirlwinds or cyclones, although the word cyclone is used in meteorology to name any closed low pressure circulation. Tornadoes come in many shapes and sizes, but they are typically in the form of a visible condensation funnel originating from the base of a huge storm cloud, whose narrow end touches the earth and is often encircled by a basal cloud of debris and dust. Most tornadoes have wind speeds less than 110 miles per hour (180 km/h), are about 250 feet (80 m) across, and travel a few miles (several kilometers) before dissipating. The most extreme tornadoes can attain wind speeds of more than 300 miles per hour (480 km/h), are more than two miles (3 km) in diameter, and stay on the ground for dozens of miles (more than 100 km).
Our governor, Robert Bentley declared February 19-24, 2017, as Severe Weather Awareness Week in Alabama. The National Weather Service, the Alabama Emergency Management Agency, and other supporting organizations asked (as they always do) for citizens' help in providing information about severe weather safety. Advance planning and increased awareness will help residents of Alabama (and other areas of the United States) survive these deadly storms.
The state of Alabama sits in the middle of "Tornado Alley," as most of the dangerous tornadoes come from the west and travel east toward Georgia, Florida and all areas in between the swath that the storms cut when they surface. Dangerous is not a fitting enough adjective when describing this time of year when dangerous thunderstorms and tornadoes are so prevalent in the spring and summer.
But did you know that there are 15 Brand New Rules for Surviving Severe Weather?
- Be aware of dangerous lightning. Do not stick metal rods measuring over six foot tall in the ground and hold onto them. This is asking for lightning to strike and believe me, you will be injured.
- Do not try to practice your Olympic swimming in an area that is flooded as to idolize your hero, Michael Phelps. The authorities are trying desperately to help people stranded by the dangerous storm conditions and you doing something as foolish as swimming in a roadway will only hinder their efforts.
- If you have watched the blockbuster film, "Twister," starring Helen Hunt and the late Bill Paxton, and you are trying to be a storm chaser, stop it immediately. This is work only for professionals--you in your 1990 Chevy S-10 truck with radio blaring out some rocker of a song and going into the direct path of a twister on the ground is very ignorant. You might be severely injured.
- Please do not climb onto the roof of your house and start dancing around frantically as if you are a native of the Amazon River area because there again, lightning is known to strike in higher places and severely high winds can pluck you off the roof sending you into your yard and possibly sending you to the emergency room.
- One of the most stupid things you can do during a severe thunderstorm or tornado is trying to convince your friends and neighbors that you are a tightrope walker trying to walk across the power lines while dressed in a flashy costume worn by real tightrope performers in the circus.
- Climbing trees in order to have a better location to film a twister that is on the ground is in the category of the above rule--very, very stupid. Anyone with any sense knows that high winds can easily blow down tall trees and take roofs off of homes. Plus you could easily get yourself struck by lightning.
- Drinking huge amounts of alcohol during a severe thunderstorm or tornado then daring your equally-non-thinking friends to drag you behind his truck on a homemade skateboard made from scrap lumber and lawnmower wheels is ludacris. The authorities are working feverishly to get people trapped in their homes to safety and there you are acting a fool in the flood waters. You will be injured or worse, arrested.
- Another dumb activity for you not to do during a storm is getting out your old reliable flat-bottom boat named, "Lucky" and fire up the Mercury outboard motor and try to navigate the flooded highways and yards is like I said, dumb. If you must do this, help the local authorities in rescuing others from their homes.
- I know that you have heard of "Hurricane Parties," those gatherings in coastal areas where senseless folk get in one apartment or home then listen to loud music, dance, and drink their heads off during a severe storm is as dumb as a "Thunderstorm or Tornado Party," where non-thinking people do the same as those in "Hurricane Parties." Please do not do stupid things such as this if you want to live.
- Getting up a game of tackle football in an open field with your buddies while a twister has been spotted a few miles away from you cannot end well.
- Betting friends that you can pull off your clothes and run wild through the main part of your hometown while rain is pouring and lightning is striking everywhere cannot be thought of as sane. This is not only stupid, but very dangerous.
- Drinking a huge amount of alcohol then daring your friends to play "Super man,"--jumping from the roof of a house (with red towel acting as your cape) can give you a broken neck or limbs.
- You are not a trained bullfighter and you standing in a pasture holding a red piece of cloth at an angry bull is not smart. Especially since your area is smack dab in the middle of a storm warning area. You could get bashed by the bull, plus lightning struck and to top off your stupidity, laughed at by your more-sensible friends.
- Thinking that the police are too busy to see you try to loot a few stores hit by a raging tornado can be rated as a very stupid act if you ask my honest opinion.
- Riding around with your beer buddies in the back of a pickup truck boozing it up--throwing empty beer cans and bottles in the flood waters and high winds will get you arrested and labeled a fool.
Please observe the accepted rules along with these rules that I am only publishing for you and your family to be safe during severe weather in your hometown.
Good night, Guin, Alabama a town that in April, 1974, was demolished along with three other adjoining communities during a EF-5 tornado that swept through the town from early evening on into the night. The tornado completely paralyzed life in Guin, Brilliant, and Twin, Alabama as rebuilding and restarting of survivors' lives began the next morning.
© 2017 Kenneth Avery