Friday, April 23, 2010

Violent Tornadoes Possible Today

Thursday was just a preview of what might be the largest, most intense tornado outbreak of the 2010 severe weather season.

Over 2 dozens twisters were reported on Thursday from the extreme eastern suburbs of Denver, CO to the Texas panhandle. Thankfully they were all over open rangeland.

There was damage to windows and cars reported from large hail - such as near Bennett, CO and across west-central Kansas.

Here is a map of the severe weather reports from Thursday.
Today the focus moves a bit further east - with a bullseye on the state of Arkansas.

Conditions are right to produce tornadoes - one forecast I saw said there is a 70 percent chance of a tornado touching down within 50 miles of Little Rock, Ar.

If there are any tornadoes, hopefully none of them will be long-track tornadoes - those on the ground for several dozen miles - such as the event on March 1, 1997.

I was a switchboard operator at JCPenney, McCain Mall - in North Little Rock, AR on this day. We had to evacuate as the storm went by.

I recall taking a phone call from the husband of our store manager who was about 25 miles ahead of the storm. He said plywood was falling out of the sky.

The tornado had been on the ground so long - it had an incredible amount of debris circulating in the clouds above and it was falling several miles out ahead of the twister.

Read More: March 1, 1997 - Arkansas Tornado Outbreak

One thing is for certain - we're going to see an outbreak of severe weather today - and the mid-south will likely take a hit with large hail, heavy rain and deadly lightning.

Tornadoes are always tough to predict - but there will likely be some - so if you live in that area and read this blog keep an eye to the sky!

Have your tornado action plan ready in case the unthinkable happens - look around your home or office today and decide where you will take cover should a tornado threaten your area.

Keep in mind you always want to be on the lowest level of your home or office, and in an interior room. Bathrooms are often great places to seek shelter, ESPECIALLY if they are an interior room, because the plumbing offers reinforcement to the walls.

Closests and hallways are great places too. Stay away from windows!

Where ever you end up - protect your head!! Flying debris is one of the biggest dangers during a tornado.

I always heard as a kid growing up to be in the southwest corner of your home or business because tornadoes always travel southwest to northeast. This isn't always the case.

And LISTEN to the latest weather watches and warnings for your county. If you are geographically challenged, or are new to your area, take a little time to learn the names of cities, towns and counties near where you live.

NOAA weather radios are inexpensive and a great tool to have. You get an alert the minute the National Weather Service issues a watch or warning. In most cases, you will have the warning before the local media.

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