Given the recent weather headlines of incredible numbers of tornadoes, tornado warnings, and severe thunderstorms, it is appropriate to mention once again the importance of having a weather radio. Imagine going to bed at night knowing that your region is under a threat of severe weather. How well would you sleep, not knowing if severe weather will sweep over your head during the night?
A weather radio equipped with an automatic alert (most are) will wake you up in the middle of the night and give you time to get downstairs to the basement or shelter. A weather radio is not expensive. In fact it is one of the cheapest forms of life insurance that you can buy.
Some of these weather radios can be uniquely programmed to only alert you based on your local county, and some can even be programmed to only wake you up at night based on your own preferences of warning types. For example, you may not wish to be awakened at 2AM for a weather ‘advisory’ or something that you don’t consider to be severe enough to be awakened at night.
Awhile ago I wrote a brief summary article which is a review of the best weather radios at that time, based on a few of my own parameters. Have a look for yourself. The ongoing most popular weather radio continues to be the MIDLAND WR300 Weather Radio. I have had this radio for several years and continue to be very happy with it.
Two additional intriguing models are…
Sangean CL-100 which I believe to be the most attractive tabletop weather radio, and one that is rated the best at Amazon.
Midland HH54VP which is a nice portable handheld weather radio for on-the-go.
There have been record numbers of tornadoes the past few years and it doesn’t appear to be letting up. Regardless of the underlying cause, the fact is that it’s happening. Don’t risk your life without a weather radio. Be prepared.
Where is Tornado Alley?
There are several areas that can be considered “Tornado Alley”. The area from central Texas to Colorado, North Dakota and Minnesota commonly gets this poorly defined label. But there is also a tornado-prone area that extends eastward from Texas to Georgia that can be considered as a Tornado Alley, and still another “alley” from Arkansas to the Ohio River and the Great Lake states of Ohio, Indiana, Illinois and Michigan. Florida gets more small tornadoes per square mile than any other state, but so few big ones that most people don’t consider it as a “tornado alley”. Southern New England seems to have its own little “tornado alley” in western Massachusetts and Connecticut.
What can I do at home for tornado emergency preparedness?
At home, have a family tornado plan in place, based on the kind of dwelling you live in and the safety tips below. Know where you can take shelter in a matter of seconds, and practice a family tornado drill at least once a year. Have a pre-determined place to meet after a disaster. Flying debris is the greatest danger in tornadoes; so store protective coverings (e.g., mattress, sleeping bags, thick blankets, etc) in or next to your shelter space, ready to use on a few seconds’ notice. When a tornado watch is issued, think about the drill and check to make sure all your safety supplies are handy.