In Pt. 1, I took issue with something our local meteorologist said, “It is impossible for us [meteorologists] to successfully do our jobs and keep you safe if… .” To which I replied:
A successful meteorologist provides the information I need– in a timely fashion and with the relevant meteorological analysis– to act in accordance with the current and future weather circumstances.
I appreciate Joel’s sentiment. I do rely– in part as you’ll see– on Joel’s analyses and forecasts but my safety is my responsibility.
In that previous post I claimed
There are two categories of information acquisition. The first is “Tell me.” Someone else is looking at the raw weather data, analyzing and assessing it and other relevant information, and telling you what’s going on. You act accordingly.
The second, “I’ll see for myself,” will come shortly.
1. PHONE NOTIFICATIONS
NWS NOW (National Weather Service Now) available at Amazon Appstore. Current conditions, forecasts, radar, maps, saved locations and access to your current location (if you choose), and optional alert setting for hazardous weather conditions. As all advisories, watches, and warning are issued by the NWS (and only relayed by local weather stations, etc.) having NWS NOW on your phone, and setting it to beep at you when you’re in an area for which the advisory/watch/warning has been issued, means you get it first.
LOCAL TV/RADIO STATION WEATHER APPs. Local people know the lay of the land. If they are good meteorologists they can also spot hazards in real time at specific locations. My local TV weather app has a feature that will call me if I’m in a tornado’s path. I didn’t sign up b/c I have so much weather redundancy. But if you’re not a weather geek, this could be a useful feature, especially if you’re in the car a lot. (Also, these guys like to post pictures which can be useful in assessing conditions.)
(The came in handy when we were in Denver. I could keep up with the rain and flooding in Mississippi, knew how it would affect the roads around the Farm, and communicate to the Farm sitters.)
Tip: Have these on all of your devices!
2. TWITTER FEEDS
NWSs (National Weather Services) in YOUR REGION. Note this is plural. You have one NWS that’s closest to your home location. Follow it. Also follow nearby locations. You know from what direction your weather events come. In addition to Jackson (local) I follow Shreveport, LA (thunderstorms from the west), Memphis, TN (ice storms from the north) and Mobile, AL (Gulf hurricanes).
YOUR STATE’S EMERGENCY MANAGEMENT AGENCY. Redundant re-tweets of notifications but also useful information about locale-specific closures, opening of shelters, and damage assessment. Remember, all county Emergency Management report to state. My county doesn’t have a twitter feed, yours may so follow it as well.
Here is a list of all state emergency management agencies with websites that will have ‘follow’ buttons.
YOUR STATE’S DEPARTMENT OF TRANSPORTATION. Accidents, road closures, damage assessment.
LOCAL TV/RADIO WEATHER. See local apps above. Mine is more likely to post pictures on twitter than in the app.
Tip: Sit down and ‘follow’ each of these one right after another. In this way, all of the weather-related Twitter will be clustered together in your ‘following’ list. When you need to monitor these accounts, go to that list rather than waiting for something to show up in your feed.
Here’s the list of NWSs again.
3. LOCAL TV/RADIO
All national weather TV stations are insufferable, in my opinion. I would not voluntarily rely on national TV for information. The warnings on local TV scroll too slowly. I don’t listen to commercial radio (though I could if I needed). If watching TV or listening to radio are your gig, go for it. But keep in mind cable & satellite go out, as does power. It’s probably the case that most, if not all, TV and radio stations have backup generators, so they can still receive radar and other information, and can send out app notifications and tweets. (Broadcast as well, but if you don’t have TV… .)
4. NOAA WEATHER RADIO
There are 10 pages of search results on Amazon. Look for one that has
at least two sources of power (more is better),
an alarm, and
whose bells & whistles correspond to your level of belling & whistling.
A NOAA weather radio that you do not know how to operate is not only worthless but may instill a false sense of security. (I would not buy my mom the radio we have!)
Tip: Keep the owner’s manual to your radio with your emergency gear (batteries, flash lights, etc.).
1. We haven’t had good luck with Midland walkie-talkie versions of the weather radar. Maybe it’s just us, but the recharging stations fail and programming the unit is not intuitive. I do very much like our Kaito Voyager Pro. Five sources of energy (AC, rechargeable battery, AA, solar, hand crank); AM/FM, weather, and shortwave radio; flash and reading light; various alarm and alert settings; USB charger; earbud or speaker outlet. See below on battery life.
2. Recall the points about local meteorologists knowing the lay of the land, and radio stations being able to broadcast during power outages. A NOAA weather radio that is also an AM/FM radio is A+ Department of Redundancy Department work.
3. Rechargeable batteries do not last forever. I like the Kaito but its NiMH battery is starting to fade out. Don’t wait until you need a functioning radio to discover this and act accordingly. In my case, when bad weather is imminent, I now plug the radio into my Jackery.
Customized alert apps
Mississippi State has Maroon Alerts available to students, staff, faculty, family & friends of students,– so basically anyone who cares about MSU and Starkville. With respect to weather, it’s just another layer of redundancy. But non-weather-related bad things happen that you may need to know about. If your school or company provides such an app, take advantage of it.
MISCELLANEOUS & COMMENT
Your situation differs from mine– not may, does. You may travel or live in an area without cell phone / internet reception. You may not have a Twitter account. There may be threats unrelated to weather about which you need information. Taking responsibility for your own safety may involve having a shortwave or CB (citizens’ band) radio, listening to a scanner. Back in the crappy olden days, folks would set up telephone trees. For the youngsters, one person has a reliable means of receiving, and possibly transmitting, information– say a shortwave radio listening to state or local emergency management. That person also has a list of five names he or she calls (back in the day, on a land line phone) to pass on the warning. Each of those has five names… .
We’ve come a long way, but still, not too bad an idea.
Tip: Have a hard copy list of family and critical contact numbers. Put it with your emergency stuff.
Tell me recap
I saw this the other day and chuckled. I’d give it a B, a very good start but needs more specific detail. Department of Redundancy Department. Keep in mind that outdoor sirens are intended to be heard outdoors, not indoors.