Senior Addresses the Importance of Weather awareness

Senior Addresses the Importance of Weather awareness

Severe weather is a well-known phenomenon that occurs naturally across the world. It can happen at any time in any place, especially during this time of year. Fall tends to be infamous for this kind of weather, in which the conditions are right for tornadoes and especially hurricanes to form often. From June to Nov., it is declared to be the Atlantic hurricane season, a dangerous time for states that sit along the ocean’s border, like Florida and Carolina. Severe weather is still bound to happen in our area no matter what. That is why the 18th of Oct. is declared “Fall Severe Weather Awareness Day” here in Alabama.

When it comes to awareness of severe weather events, proper preparation is crucial to stay safe. Lightning, rain, tornadoes, hail and flooding are all equally dangerous in their own ways. Most people think that tornadoes are the most dangerous occurrence that comes from storms, alongside hail and flooding. However, it has been proven that lightning is the second most killer through weather. Lightning comes first before the thunder, which can serve as a warning. If you can hear thunder at all, you are at risk of being struck by lightning. 

According to the Lightning Safety Council, 247 fatalities have been caused by lightning in America from 2011 to 2020, while 14 of the 247 happened in Alabama. The chance of surviving a lightning strike is 90%, but the fatal 10% still exists, alongside an abundance of pain and scarring. The safest thing to do is resort to a low interior area and wait for the storm to pass. If you are unable to go inside, crouch down into a ball-like position and tuck your head with your hands over your ears. Under no circumstances should you shelter under a tree, near metal or anything that could serve as a lighting pole.

The same thing applies to hail, too. Hail manifests into balls of solid ice that vary in size, depending on the storm’s intensity. It is usually brought with stronger storms and is rare to occur in a normal shower or thunderstorm. One of the biggest warning signs of impending hail is green clouds wrapped in with the storm’s clouds. Hail can fall in coin-sized chunks to full on baseball-sized. The record sized hailstone in Alabama is 5.38 inches in diameter. Nonetheless, hail is a threat to people, animals, and property.

 If you know there is incoming hail or there is a threat for it, stay indoors and keep anything potentially fragile or important put away, such as vehicles or furniture. Stay away from windows, as hail can fall at an angle and easily break glass. If a hailstorm passes through, it does not mean it is over once the hail stops falling. There is always the threat of more to come, so cease going outside or checking for damage until it is for certain that the storm has passed, in any weather situation and not just hailstorms.

The most infamous event that comes from severe weather is tornadoes. Tornadoes tend to be the most dangerous, as they can grow very large and are capable of inflicting mass destruction. They do not occur as often as other severe weather events, but it is of course critical to prepare, stay aware, and keep you and others safe. From 1950 to 2022 November has produced the third highest number of tornadoes in Alabama, Oct. being number eight. 

Thankfully, there are many ways to prepare and stay aware of ongoing weather situations. One of the biggest is having a weather radio at hand while keeping in touch with a severe weather dedicated news broadcast. Doing so already helps you know what is happening at when. The radio will alert you when the National Weather Service issues new alerts, such as watches and warnings, the broadcast provides you with an accurate forecast and track of the severe weather.

Just like with hail, it is important to avoid windows, keep indoors and stay off of areas of high elevation. Make sure to always have proper clothing and shoes on, in case of sharp or broken objects scattering on the floor. When a tornado warning is issued, a tornado is approaching or near, resorting to a storm shelter or basement is the best course of action. If neither, a bathroom’s tub or closet is your best bet to shelter in. The tornado itself is not the most dangerous factor, but instead, the debris being pulled in and launched from the tornado. Any means necessary to protect yourself from debris, like wearing a hard hat or helmet, should be taken.

Mobile homes are especially prone to debris and damage, as it is not safe to remain in one during a tornadic event. If there is a threat of severe weather, make sure to relocate yourself before it strikes. Even though severe weather is a life threatening event, there are multiple ways to decrease the threat with methods like these. Not all weather can be dangerous, but it puts one’s mind at ease knowing they are aware of what to do when it strikes.

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