Wednesday, April 17, 2019

Central, Southern and Mid-Atlantic States Under The Gun (Again)


While the Atlantic Hurricane season is still 6 weeks away, we have the annual onslaught of severe spring weather to deal with - and as the NOAA SPC (Storm Prediction Center) forecast map (above) shows - the next three days could be very active.
Spring tornadoes have already claimed 27 lives in 2019, in what has already been a moderately active season.

While 2018 only saw 10 tornado-related deaths - in 2011, 555 people died across the United States from twisters - making it the 2nd deadliest season on record.

Last Friday, in It Happens Every Spring - 2019 Edition, we looked at tornado safety, and so I won't rehash those topics again today. 
Suffice to say that if you live or work (or will travel through) any of the areas in any of the areas forecast to see severe weather the next three days, you should be prepared to move to a safe location should conditions threaten.
April and May are the most active tornado months for our southern states, while in June and July the action moves more into the Midwest and upper Midwest. But the truth is, tornadoes - and severe weather - can occur anytime, and just about anywhere.

In 2012 the CDC’s MMWR issued an analysis of the 2011's massive tornado outbreak, one that stressed the importance of safe rooms.  Due to the length of the report, I’ve only reproduced a few excerpts.

Follow the link to read:

Tornado-Related Fatalities — Five States, Southeastern United States, April 25–28, 2011

July 20, 2012 / 61(28);529-533
(Media Synopsis)
Individuals who work or live in a tornado-prone area should develop a tornado safety plan prior to severe weather.
During April 25–28, 2011, the third deadliest tornado disaster occurred in the southeastern U.S. despite modern advances in tornado forecasting, advanced warning times, and media coverage.  CDC reviewed data from the American Red Cross, death certificates and the National Weather Service to describe the fatalities by demographic characteristics, shelter used, cause of death, and tornado severity in the affected states of Alabama, Arkansas, Georgia, Mississippi and Tennessee. Of the 338 deaths, approximately one-third were older adults, almost half occurred in single-family homes, and a quarter happened in mobile homes.  One-half of the 27 tornadoes were rated powerful (EF-4 or EF-5) and were responsible for almost 90 percent of the deaths. The use of safe rooms is crucial to preventing tornado-related deaths.
(Continue . . . .)

FEMA has a good deal of advice on exactly how to construct a safe room – either above or below ground.
Residential Safe Rooms

The information below will help you understand how having a safe room in your home can protect your family and save the lives of those you care about.
Find answers to your Questions about Building a Safe Room, including:
  • What is the cost of installing a safe room?
  • Can I install a safe room in an existing home?
  • Can I build the safe room myself?
  • Where is the best location for the safe room?
  • Where can I find plans for safe room construction?
And more....

Building a Safe Room in Your House

For more details about how you can build a safe room in your home, go to the FEMA P- 320, Taking Shelter from the Storm: Building a Safe Room for Your Home or Small Business page before downloading it from the FEMA Library. 

While not a small, or inexpensive project, having a safe room during a tornado, or hurricane, can be lifesaving.