TORNADOES ARE LIKELY ON SATURDAY; NOW IS THE TIME TO PREPARE… Severe storms that could produce tornadoes and damaging winds are likely to happen on Saturday. This will probably be a daytime event from 6AM to 6PM Saturday being the core risk, although guidance has indicated we may have isolated severe storms as early as Friday night under some scenarios. Thursday is going to be quite nice as skies become cloudy and temperatures rise into the 70s. There is still PLENTY of time to get your tornado safety plan ready. Research consistently shows that the keys to surviving tornadoes is to HAVE A PLAN, know what to do, and implement that plan. Here are a few things we all can do NOW to get prepared. Again, please help me get this info out. There are many people that aren’t as “weather aware” that need to know this info. Some of the following 8 things may sound unusual, scary, or even funny to you if you’re hearing them for the first time, but trust me in that research proves these tips are and have been life-saving time and time again… Don’t be scared, BE PREPARED!
1) WARNINGS… Most importantly, **HAVE A WAY TO RECEIVE WEATHER WARNINGS late Friday into Saturday.** If you don’t have a way to get the warnings, the rest of these points are moot. You have to KNOW when something is happening in your area! No matter where you are in the Deep South, you’re included in at least SOME severe weather risk zone this weekend.
NOAA Weather Radios are great but they do generally need batteries (AA, AAA, etc.), The SAF-T-Net (free) and Weather Radio (more advanced, one time charge) apps are also wonderful. Also, my company, RedZone Weather, has an app (free download at redzoneweather.com/app) that you can watch our live streaming video and audio coverage if tornado warnings happen in southwest Alabama or northwest Florida (coverage commitments available here: redzoneweather.com/coverage). Note: The notifications I send are for SOUTH Alabama and NW Florida. We encourage everyone with the RedZone Weather app to visit the Alerts tab (lower right corner of the app), read the descriptions, and turn ON which alerts you want to receive from me. If you want a lot of info, be sure to turn on Low-Level Alerts.
2) HELMET/COOK POTS… You must protect your head during a tornado. Sorry to be blunt, but research proves blunt force trauma to the head kills more people in violent tornadoes than anything else. Thus, wearing a football, baseball, bicycle, softball, or ballistics helmet greatly increases your chance of surviving a tornado. If you don’t have a helmet, use something almost all of us have… Cooking pots! Put it on your head and hold it on as you get in your tornado safe place. Might look funny and you might get some weird looks from friends and family members, but this without a doubt, saves lives. We sometimes feature “safe place selfies” during our live tornado warning coverage.
3) PHONES/TABLETS… Charge your cell phones and iPads and other electronic devices Friday! Don’t wait. If you’ve been on the fence about purchasing one of the fantastic small battery backups (see an example in the picture) that can power your phone or iPad, I highly recommend getting one this evening! In my experience, I’m a fan of the Anker batteries. You’ll need a charging cable that connects to your phone/tablet to go with it.
4) WHISTLES/AIRHORNS/IDs… You need something like a whistle, air horn, or something else that can emit a loud noise to let first responders know if you’ve been affected by a tornado and you’re trapped under debris. It’s important to also have your ID on your person during tornado warnings. If you need medical help and you’re unconscious, first responders need to know who you are.
5) CLOSED-TOED SHOES… It would pain me so much to hear that someone had been affected by a tornado, survived it, then walked out of a destroyed home, stepped on a live electrical wire and got electrocuted. Wear closed-toed shoes Friday night and Saturday! Easy thing we can all do.
6) PEOPLE AND PETS… Don’t forget about the pets when/if you have to take shelter on Saturday. Dogs and cats need to be sheltered too! Also, don’t forget to LET PEOPLE KNOW that we have a substantial severe weather risk across portions of south Alabama and northwest Florida. You’d be amazed at how many people I see regularly that don’t have a clue what’s happening in the news and weather world. That’s fine — until it’s not and they become a tornado casualty. Share this point and TELL PEOPLE ABOUT THIS RISK.
7) HAVE A PLAN… Know NOW where you’ll be late Friday into Saturday. We recommend getting on the lowest floor of a well-constructed, site-built structure (like a sturdy house or business), away from windows and doors, putting as many walls as you possibly can between you and the outside world. You CANNOT be in a vehicle or a mobile home during a tornado warnings! These places become death traps very quickly in tornado situations… Don’t think, “Oh, I’ll try to outrun it.” NO. This could prove to be a fatal mistake. Mobile homes are great, affordable housing, but you simply cannot be in a mobile or manufactured home in a tornado. I have received ‘hate mail’ about this point in the past from the mobile home lobby suggesting newer mobile homes and manufactured homes are “just as safe as a brick house.” That’s total garbage and baloney. Mobile and manufactured homes are designed to be (shocker) MOBILE aka built to move. More tornado deaths in Alabama happen in mobile and manufactured homes than any other place!
8) COVERAGE… I provide live streaming video coverage via our RedZone Weather app and on redzoneweather.com during tornado warnings for 12 counties in southwest Alabama and in northwest Florida. We also stream live here on Facebook. Some of you reading this post are NOT in this area. Find a weather source you trust and watch the information this weekend! We’ll be here for our local communities, as always. You can see redzoneweather.com/coverage for more details about our specific coverage commitment. Join us if we have tornado warnings!
APP… Many, MANY updates will be posted throughout the next few days in the RedZone Weather app. redzoneweather.com/app is the link for the free download. Be sure to visit the Alerts tab (bottom right corner) and tap the large, yellow “Alert Settings” button to customize the alerts you’d like to receive from me. If you like a lot of info, be sure to toggle ON Low-Level Alerts.
I’ll have more details about the severe weather potential later this evening.