NWS requests ALERT from 3:00am tonight to 3:00pm CST.
The next ALERT meeting will be at the National Weather Service at 7:00 pm on Tuesday, March 10th, 2009.
If you are not able to make the meeting in person try the teleconference.
Every effort will be made to have teleconferencing available for each meeting, to participate:
Please call: (877) 951-0997 and enter participants code 741083.
ALERT NEWSLETTER – March 2009
Vol. 2 No. 9
With the arrival of March we enter into the peak of the spring tornado season.
Are you prepared?
And, I’m not talking callouts, radios, antennas or chat rooms. I’m talking keeping you and your families alive and intact during and after the storms. For this should be your number one priority.
Remember you can’t respond to callouts to any emergency team if you are dead or dying or desperately trying to dig your family out of the rubble that was a few moments ago your home.
For this reason everyone should have a disaster plan. Both at home, at work & in between.
Every home should have a safe place of refuge. You have heard “seek shelter in an interior room on the lowest floor.” And, this is very good advice.
Shelters can run the gamut of an interior closet, a special room in the basement that can quickly be run to, or a fully equipped fallout shelter. Which considering the multiple threats that the 21 century offers us, isn’t a bad idea to have. Not at all.
Shelters can be “dual purpose” – the old tried and true “quick run to the fruit cellar” method. Where normally you use the room for other purposes, but can quickly convert it into a shelter. Or it can be a dedicated location, equipped with food, backup power, and communications capabilities – the whole nine yards
Some questions you should ask yourselves in planning are:
What is the safest, most structurally sound place I have for a shelter?
For instance, you don’t want it where the roof or walls will collapse on you.
You don’t want it in the room where the garden tools – pitchforks, saws, and other blades will sushi you if the winds get into the building.
You don’t want the water heater too close to your shelter due to scalding danger it provides should it get knocked over.
Do you want a multi-hazard shelter? One that helps protect from Mother Nature, Nuclear threats, Bin Ladin & his friends or our own supply of Home Grown Nuts? Or simply place of last resort when the unthinkable happens?
Do you want to stockpile supplies? FEMA recommends a three-day supply of food and water. The
old 1960’s Civil Defense books recommended a 21 day supply.
Some good reference is FEMA course IS22 “Are You Ready” available at http://www.fema.gov/areyouready/
Also recommended is IS317, Introduction to Community Emergency Response Teams, which is the training course for CERT volunteers.
Wide ranges of training courses are available at http://training.fema.gov/IS/crslist.asp
At work, theoretically every employer should have an Emergency Action Plan. Most do. Some actually do know where the dusty thing is (maybe).
I worked for years at an unnamed major department store. Their plan basically was “count down the registers, since the tornado will patiently wait to for you to finish doing so & then move everyone to the center of the building so the roof can collapse on them.” And, originally that centralized location was also where they displayed the butcher knives and other cutlery.
Did mention I the words “winds” & “sushi” earlier? I believe I did.
I did point these flaws out & was assured that “our experts say this is the safest plan”. So I made my own secret plan – hunker down in the restroom.
I figured I might as well be near the Throne, for I would most certainly be in prayer.
At my present place of employment basically MARK is the emergency action plan. And, quit saying “God help them all”. I can hear you, you know.
I keep them aware as to the situation & try to preach where to seek shelter. And, I always have a safe place for Mark in mind.
If you are outside remember:
1. You can’t outrun a tornado in Alabama.
2. You shouldn’t be running towards a tornado. After all, you might actually catch it. Then what?
3. If you are caught with nowhere to run, get out of the car & lie flat in a ditch or culvert.
4. Alabama has High Precipitation Supercells. So if the ditch or culvert begins flooding, and a tornado is approaching you also, you have a problem. You may have to resort to number 5.
5. My Mom’s Grandmom said “grab hold of a small bush and hold on for dear life. A pine tree may get blown away, but the bushes almost never do.”
And, those old “Grannies” knew what to do when “a cyclone is in that cloud”.
She also said, “if a bear gets after you, don’t climb a tree to get away. They can out climb you. Run down hill instead. They have short front legs and can’t run down hill very well”.
So, if after swimming out of the ditch, and, while you are hanging on to a bush getting the stuffing beat out of you by a tornado, you should happen to look up and see a bear hanging on to it too…. run down hill.
Always stay aware of potential dangers and what to do about it. This includes disasters both great and small. It’s just an extension of being “street smart”.
And, while I’m not advocating that we become a generation of Chicken Littles, I do believe we should be a little like Noah, (especially since we work for NOAA). And, be in a state of preparedness.
We can’t prevent disasters from happening. But, we can help reduce the impact they have on our little corner of the world. And, once we have secured our loved ones, then we can help others in need also.
And, if some think you are a little nuts for preparing. That’s ok. They probably think you are nuts anyway just based on amount of antennas you have, the stickers you have on the car and that wild gleam you get in the eyes when the word “Tornado Watch” is mentioned.
It’s what makes you interesting.
Originally called Martius, March is the third month & first month of the Roman calendar. March is named for Mars, the god of war
March is a wet month. Most floods occur in March and rainfall averages around 6 inches.
Tornadic activity sharply increases in March with there being an increase of 2.2 times the number of tornadoes over the February amount. The focal point for this tornadic activity is the Gulf States.
March is the hail maximum for the Deep South. This is due both to the number of thunderstorms & due to the freezing level still being near the surface. This allows hail to form at lower altitudes and reach the ground intact, as opposed to summer months, when the near surface level temperatures are higher and melts the hail into liquid before impact.
Killing frosts are gone and the last average frost is on March 16.
March is a snow month for Alabama, as Sunday proved & there is a 45% chance of snow up to one inch, and an 8% chance of one inch or more.
The good news is that there is hope on the horizon as Spring will arrive at Vernal Equinox on March 20 at 11:44 UTC.
Remember to get the eggs out, as it is said that you can stand eggs on their ends at the hour of equinox. But, don’t cheat by cracking them to give them a flat end or sprinkle salt on the table to give them support, as this will bring 17 years of bad luck.
Unless of course you bury a poultice containing wolf bane, one whisker of a male calico cat, one clove of garlic, and an 1943 steel penny on the North side of a South leaning cedar tree, under a haloed full moon.
Or so granny said…
March’s Full Moon is “Worm Moon” in Native American folklore. So called because the rains disturb the earthworms & they are seen wiggling around after the rains.
This month’s meeting will be on April 14 at 7PM at the National Weather Service
Forecast office at the Shelby County Airport.
Hope to see you there!
Mark / WD4NYL