Thursday, May 6, 2010

New Storm Shelter Ahead Of Next Outbreak

The long range forecast models paint a very active week coming up - with some cold air moving into the lower 48 states early next week.

The air is cold enough that one model I saw has rain and snow for the Denver area by next Wednesday if you can believe that one!

I can - the average May snowfall in Denver is 1.3 inches!

Along with that cold air will come the chance for a severe weather outbreak in the central and southern plains. The Storms Prediction Center says the way things look right now, the stage could be set for storms with significant tornadoes on Monday, May 10 - across western and central Kansas, Oklahoma, and northern Texas.

The map below shows the threat area.

It is a pretty safe bet to say that next week will be active after a fairly quiet Mother's Day weekend coming up. How active? Well - those details will unfold in the days to come.

And speaking of storms - a friend of mine in Arkansas just had a storm shelter installed in her yard after years of close calls and seeking safety from passing thunderstorms.

This past weekend - Arkansas was the focus of a pretty significant tornado outbreak with over a dozen reported touchdowns that left a lot of damage, several injuries and even one death.

As a native of Arkansas - storms can be just plain scary. You can get a lot of nighttime tornadoes in the south - and those are the most dangerous - not to mention the most scary.

Here are some pictures of her new storm shelter!

The first picture is the storm shelter being delivered. The second is after the shelter is placed in the ground.She writes that she is really happy with the new shelter! It is guaranteed not to leak for 10 years!
The shelter is made of 1/4 inch steel and concrete and has 3 steps going down that are covered with carpet. There is also carpeting on the benches and the floor inside.

The state of Arkansas has a rebate program for those interested in getting a storm shelter installed. You can get $1,000 or 50% of the cost back, whichever is less.

And if you are not in Arkansas, but live in another tornado prone state, check with your office of emergency management to see if there might be a similar program in your state.

My aunt, who also lives in Arkansas, had a safe room installed in her house. The closet of her master bedroom is completely surrounded by a steel frame, cinder bock and I believe some type of additional reinforcing - and instead of a normal closet door - it has a big, heavy steel door. So in the event of a tornado, this is where they seek shelter.

If you can't afford a storm shelter at this time, please consider at least having a NOAA weather radio. They are affordable and can be purchased online or at selected retailers, like Radio Shack.

This radio is connected to the National Weather Service. It has an alarm you can set that will sound whenever any type of weather watch or warning is issued for your area.

You will get the alert at the exact same time the media outlets get their data - and while most television and radio stations react quickly - those 1 or 2 minutes of additional lead time could just be the window you need to seek safety in your home or office.

NOAA weather radios come in all shapes and sizes and are battery operated. Here is a link to several models starting at just $24.95 plus shipping!

Winter Not Finished Yet

And as we talk about cold air moving into the country next week - we are already dealing with the first wave of cold air. Heavy snow is in the forecast for portions of the Dakotas!!!

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