Severe Weather Awareness Week – Spring
Posted by: Earth Networks
Severe Weather Awareness Week
The first full week of March is Spring Severe Weather Awareness Week in the United States. The National Weather Service holds Seasonal Safety Campaigns year-round to prepare the public for hazardous weather.
Although these weeks are spread out throughout the year, severe weather safety is a daily effort. Severe Weather Awareness Weeks are all part of NOAA‘s plan to build a “Weather-Ready” nation. While these weeks coincide with seasons in the US, people and businesses around the world can access these safety tips.
Spring Severe Weather
Changing weather conditions in the spring season present various problems throughout the country. Some years, Winter dangers persist throughout the first few weeks of spring. During other years, dangerous heat waves come early. This year, we saw an early tornado outbreak that killed four throughout the midwest. We’ve outlined the most prominent spring weather dangers and how you can best protect yourself, your family and your business.
The first hazard on our list is a tornado. Tornado winds can reach wind speeds over 200mph. While the funnel cloud definitely in the scariest part of this weather event, flying debris are the most dangerous. In the case of a tornado warning in your area, seek shelter immediately. Good shelters include basements or other sturdy interior rooms away from windows on the lowest floor. After you seek shelter, make sure you cover your head and stay tuned to a battery-powered radio for updates on the storms.
Remember the difference between tornado warnings and watches. NWS issues warnings when a tornado is occurring or will shortly occur. A watch typically occurs before a warning. Tornado watches indicate weather conditions favor thunderstorms capable of producing tornadoes.
The second springtime danger is flooding. In early spring, snow melt, ice jams and heavy rain can cause heavy flooding. When snow packs melt, the water liquid can lead to heavy flooding. Ice jams are different from snow melt because ice jams because it happens when river waters carry ice chunks. You can learn more about ice jams here.
The most important safety tip to remember during flooding is to never drive through flood waters. Flood waters can be deeper than they seem, and there’s no way to tell if the road is washed out underneath. In fact, more than half of all flood-related fatalities involve vehicles. The biggest tip is: “Turn around – Don’t drown!”
Thunderstorms are another dangerous weather phenomenon that can happen anytime during the year. Often bringing lightning, hail and heavy winds, thunderstorms pose various threats to public safety. Lightning kills an average of 30 people every year in the US, but globally that number is much higher. In India alone, 2,000 people die each year as a result of lightning strikes.
If you can see lightning or hear thunder, you are already in danger. In the case of a severe thunderstorm, seek shelter in a sturdy structure away from windows or in a vehicle. Remember, tents and other “pop-up” shelters will not protect you from lightning strikes. Do not seek shelter underneath or near trees, either as they are a conductor for lightning.
Most lightning fatalities in the US happen during recreational activities. This is scary news for outdoor rec and resort professionals. It’s important for everyone to observe some sort of dangerous thunderstorm warning. Physical warning systems are great for covering large areas.
The penultimate severe weather condition on our list is heat. As temperatures start to rise, people head outside to get rid of their winter blues. While this is good for their mentality, it can be damaging to their health if the temperatures are too warm. Here are some tips for NOAA for heat safety:
Heat is one of the leading causes of weather-related fatalities in the United States each year. The dangerous springtime combination of heat and humidity can be taxing on the human body. It’s important to learn the signs of heat illness and stay hydrated throughout the spring and summer months.
If you work indoors, ensure your office has sufficient air conditioning and that coworkers are aware of high heat index days.
Finally, the last hazard on our list is a tsunami.A tsunami is one of the most powerful destructive forces of nature. While they aren’t as common as the rest of the weather events on this list, they are extremely dangerous. Strong, long earthquakes can cause tsunamis. Coastal areas are immediately at risk. You can prepare by knowing the signs of a tsunami which include a sudden ocean rise or fall or an ocean roar. In the case of a tsunami it’s important to move to higher ground and follow coastal evacuation routes.