If you live on tornado alley, street or country lane, Spring means severe weather in the Midwest. Face it folks we do have our one biggie and it rotates and it's ugly.
The following is thanks to Anthony Peoples - meteorologist for WQAD, Channel 8 in the Quad Cities. Check out Anthony's BLOG which may be accessed either directly from the news channel's web page or by "liking" it on your Facebook.
Anthony reports, "As of March 1, 2011, there have been around 42 confirmed tornadoes across the country. At least four people were killed on February 28th in Tennessee in severe weather."
"Severe weather is more widespread across the southern United States in the months of January through March because of the proximity of the jet stream, the high powered winds aloft that steer weather systems and separates the cold air to the north and the warm air to the south."
"As that jet moves northward in the spring to southern Canada in the summer months, the severe weather moves northward with it."
"The number of tornadoes drastically increases as we head into spring and summer. Here are the average number of tornadoes across the U.S. (based on reports from 2008-2010): January 45, February 64, March 96, April 219, May 326, and June 340."
"It’s important as we head into spring to know the difference between a “watch” and a “warning”, whether it’s for severe thunderstorms or tornadoes."
"Here’s how my colleagues at the National Weather Service office in the Quad Cities distinguishes a watch from a warning:
A WATCH is issued to give advance notice when conditions are favorable for the development of severe weather, whether it be severe thunderstorms, tornadoes, or flash flooding. When a watch is issued for your area, it is time to take precautions and make sure you are prepared should bad weather strike. Make sure you have a flashlight, radio, and weather radio with fresh batteries handy in case you lose power. Monitor weather radio closely for the latest statements or warnings. It is also a good time to move vehicles and animals to shelter and secure loose outdoor articles.
WARNINGS are issued when severe weather is occurring or imminent. When a warning is issued for your area, you should take action immediately to protect your life and your property.”
"Even if you’re not dealing with tornadoes, all severe thunderstorms produce lightning and those bolts are responsible for about 93 deaths and 300 injuries each year. Lightning is also very costly. It causes several hundred million dollars in damage to property each year."
Even thought I usually write about my own little meanderings, I thought Anthony's facts might help my readers, too. If you're into all things weather, check out my earlier article "Spring Weather #11."
To my knowledge, none of the above clouds developed into a tornado - I just enjoy clouds and taking pictures of the beautiful skies out here on the hill. But and that's a big BUT, I respect the power of storms and being prepared is not only smart - it could be a life saver.
WQAD does offer hazardous weather alert services that can go to your cell phone and/or computer. It's great for parents, school administrators, business and all the rest of us who simply must know up-to-the minute bad weather watches and warnings. It's where I got that cute little weather flag at the bottom of this BLOG.