Although it’s January, it is time to begin preparing for severe weather. As we’ve seen this weekend, tornadoes can develop anytime of the year when conditions are right. The South is particularly susceptible to tornadoes due to warm air and moisture from coming up from the south and mixing with cold air from the north.

Here are some things you can do to be better prepared. Some you’ve heard before, and maybe a couple of them are new.

  1. Get a weather alert radio. Get one that will put out an alert tone loud enough to wake you up. It should be able to plug into the wall as well as use AA batteries. They can be found for less than $20.
  2. Know how to understand the radar maps provided by the National Weather Service. By observing the Map in Motion, you can track where the storms are and where they are heading.
  3. If a storm is heading your direction, you can look at a map at the National Storm Prediction Center. On the main page you can look at the Convective Outlook to see what the risk is for severe weather. My favorite page is the Storm Report page as shown below.

 This page will show you where tornadoes, hail, and strong winds have been reported. If the storm is headed your way, you can know ahead of time what is coming with it.

  1. Attend Storm Spotter training (SKYWARN) as provided by the National Weather Service. It is offered only once or twice per year in each county. See the box below for training session in Hamilton County in February.
  2. Listen in on the SKYWARN Storm Spotter radio frequency on your Baofeng UV-5r Ham radio. Do not talk on there unless you are licensed operator and are a trained spotter.  If you bought your radio from P5 Preparedness, it is pre-programmed into your radio on Channel 93.

We’ll post more in February during Severe Weather Awareness Week.

Be Prepared and Stay Safe!