- Education and Science
What to Do During a Tornado and Severe Weather: Best Resources
Tornado and Lightning
Severe Weather and Weather Information
You need the best weather information and want to know the best way to track severe storms, snow, rain, etc. You can't stop weather, but you can be prepared and know where the storm or weather is headed Well, let me tell you, you've come to the right place. I know so much about the best places because I am basically a storm freak and I have to be honest though, it's because I'm petrified of them. I like a normal storm, but start throwing in a few tornado watches, and I revert back to a baby. I have always have been like that; I won't tell you my age due to embarrassment.
I'm going to fill you in on a few trustworthy websites you can go to for weather information. These sites have the best radars and get right to the street you live on. I have a few backups that I use as well because if it's a very stormy day or any weather like snow, etc., the sites can become so slow to load, that the storm would have already passed by before the site comes back up. I choose to be prepared.
I have 4 toolbar bookmarks on my screen that are on top of my browser and ready for clicking at any given time. I know it sounds a littl overkill, but it keeps me satisfied; so oh well.
I am going to supply you links that you can bookmark or write down; however you see fit. I will explain the links and what they have to offer. In the mean time, I'm going to give you some tips and things you can do if you really want to track the storm or knowledge of where it's headed. This is for any type of weather let me mind you). I only freak on tornadoes, so any other storm doesn't bother me as much so I do talk more about tornadoes. It's always good to be watch where the storm is headed. Even if there is no warning, one could pop up immediately. The problem with tornados is that they are un-predictable and you just can't trust where it's going. It's great having a weather radio and the ability to find what site you can trust to give you the information you need the most.
Picture Of Huge Tornado
Pictures of Storm Damage
Weather Resources For Weather Information
This is my favorite radar site as you can zoom in and it literally gets to your street. It even has the option of putting in your street address, but it's faster just to use the mouse and zoom. Updated usually within a 10 minute span.
Wunderground is awesome because it tells you doppler radar detected storms and gives you a table of icons that explains what city has what coming. Example: Austin, TX has a tornado coming or forming, so it says Austin, TX and has a little purple triangle next to it and the table tells you what the purple triangle means, which is a tornado. Different icons mean different things. There is a mesoscyclone icon, hail, wind, etc. This is a great site, easy to understand and navigate.
2. Spc Noaa
This bookmark is a must have for anyone that's interested in storms of any kind. This site has it all. The information here is from the Storm Prediction Center in Oklahoma so, as you can see, it's the best. The information you get here besides the normal radar is just top of the line to me. It gives you the thunderstorm outlook, any mesoscale discussions, watches, warnings, fires, etc. What I like most about it is the percentages it gives you. Of course when you are dealing with weather, it's totally unpredictable, but at least you can have some sort of an idea.
This is one more must have and I tell you why. I love to see the radars, because the radars show you where the storms are, however; I more like to be able to read what is coming in the next day or what to expect later on in the day. When you just have the radar sites, it's hard to find the information you are looking for like the things just mentioned. If you click on the link, it takes you to the list of states. Click on your state, and your state will show everything you need to know (even another radar), but I use it mostly for reading the weather. Here is the information it has for the state you choose:
- Hourly Forecast
- State Forecast
- Zone Forecast
- Short Term Forecasts
- Forecast Discussion
- Weather Summary
- Public Information (which tells you damages done, etc.)
- Climate Information
- Special Weather Statements (like severe weather to expect, etc.)
- Warnings and Advisories
- Current Observations
Last and foremost I use this a lot-It's on online weather radio from Wunderground. Click Here and it will take you to a whole list of cities and it's the same as the weather radio at home, but you can listen online. A convenience for you is all it is. Make sure to bookmark your city.
County Map Of Your State
Need a county map of your state? Here is one link you want to click on for sure. It's a link to the United States County Map. Just click on the state you live in (or want), and the whole county map comes up that you can print off or save to your desktop. This comes in very very handy when they say there is a storm in a county that you aren't sure where it is or how close. You can get that information by clicking Here. Make sure to bookmark it when you get there. It may sound a little extreme, however; how many times have you been in a camper or driving down the road, and the radio goes off with a tornado warning or a blizzard on it's way and it tells you what county has the warning or watch. If you have the county map with you, then you can see at least where the weather is. Always be prepared, because you never know. Storms pop up at any given time and if you have children, then that's even a better reason to know.
Picture Of Tornado Forming
How To Keep Safe During Severe Weather
How Do You Know If You See A Tornado
If there is a tornado forming, there are things you can look for:
- Swirling and whirling dust or debris with or without a funnel
- Rotation in the clouds that is starting or constant
- Hail and/or heavy rain then sudden calmness
- Hail and/or heavy rain then sudden high winds
- Loud rumble that doesn't stop (like a freight train sound)
- Lowering of a cloud base
- Sky may be like a greenish color
These could be signs of a tornado forming or already formed. Know what to do in case of a tornado. The next paragraph will tell you what you need to do.
If It Is Lightning Outside
If it is lightning, go indoors immediately and stay away from trees especially. Also stay away from metal objects and water. Try to stay low to the ground. Water and tall objects are pretty much targets for lightning. If you are inside, stay off the phone, avoid taking a bath/shower or doing dishes. If lightning happens to strike your house, it will travel through the electrical system and possibly electrocute you.
If You Spot A Tornado Or Hear A Warning Siren
If you spot or know a tornado is forming or coming, these are things you need to do:
- If you have a basement, get into now. Stay away from windows and glass
- Get under a bench, table or anything solid and heavy
- Wrap a blanket or something around you to help protect you from flying debris
- Stay away from the part of the basement where heavy items sit in case the floor falls through
If you Don't have a basement
- Go to lowest floor (again, stay away from windows)
- If you can get under a stairwell, that's great
- Get in center of room with a closet or get in the bathtub
- Get a mattress or sleeping bag for protection against flying debris-ie; glass
- Crouch near to the floor with your head covered
If You Live In A Mobile Home
- Get out! End of story
If you are in a vehicle
- If you are far away from the tornado but can see it, you may be able to drive out of it's path long enough to seek shelter
- If you see one approaching and you don't have time to get out of it's path, then depending if you have enough time, get out of the car immediately and find lower ground, preferably a ditch. If the tornado is upon you and you have no time to get out safely-put your seat belt on and get down as far as possible and cover yourself with a coat or anything you have in your car. Again, it all depends on how much time you have. You have to act and think quickly!
- There has been plenty of video on showing people getting under a bridge. However; NOAA weather strongly urges you not to get under a bridge.
Get A Weather Radio as This Could Happen To You
If You Are Caught Outdoors And You See A Tornado
If you are outdoors and spot a tornado, then there are things you need to do quickly!
- If you can, try to find shelter immediately
- If there is no shelter close, lie on the ground face down as flat as you can.
- Cover your head with your hands and arms
- Get away from trees, cars, or anything that can hurt you in case they go flying
Any other type of building information follows the same guidelines as for a home with or without a basement. Just try to keep a calm so you can be levelheaded especially if you are in a hospital or shopping mall. It's crucial everyone go with the same attitude and calmness so there is not any chaos or people hurting each other trying to get to safety.
This is What Radio Reference Is- Picture Of Their Site
Finally, for all in one convenience; to me, this site is the best. It is called Radio Reference This is an online radio scanner. It's great for listening to ambulance and police calls. I listen to it quite a bit especially when my kid is out driving around or I hear ambulances, police, fire engines, etc. go flying by on the highway.
When you go to Radio Reference, you will need to click on the state you want to listen to. Another page will come up then and you find your county. After you click on the county, just to the right of that, will be a little horn icon that says "launch the county web player." It does have a download, but I never use that. I just launch the player.
For Android and iPhone users, there is an app called Broadcastify as well. The phone app is great and even easier to use. You can listen to almost any city or county. Listening to Los Angeles or New York is fun for us that don't live there because they are always busy!
That's it! You are now listening to the scanner. Here is what it looks like: