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Tornado Preparedness Cannot be Stressed Enough

by Jamie Robinson        May 27, 2011  |  12:04 pm  |  Category: Latest News

2011 has been a year of devastation for the record books.  Through May 25th, 2011 has set numerous records for tornadoes.  Many of these have stood for decades.  Some frightening tornado statistics already this year are:

  • Most tornadoes ever recorded in any single month (April 2011 - 875, previous record was 542 in May 2003)
  • Average yearly total number of tornadoes: 1274, so far in 2011 (preliminary) is 1212
  • Average number of tornadoes for the past 10 years in May: 298, so far in 2011: 295 (through 5/26 a.m.)
  • Most tornado related deaths: 508 (through 5/26 a.m.) since 1953.  1925 had the most tornado deaths with 794
  • Joplin's tornado death toll stands at 125 (through 5/26 a.m.), this makes it the deadliest tornado since 1947
  • Joplin's tornado was rated an EF5 (the highest possible) indicating winds in excess of 200 mph!

By all accounts, the significant increase in tornado related deaths this year is due to the tornadoes hitting more densely populated areas.  As the population of the United States continues to grow, this trend could likely continue well into the future.  Even with improved technology and increased warning times, most structures aren't designed to withstand and EF5 tornado.  That makes it crucial to have a plan for what you and your family should do in the event of a tornado.  This includes a plan for where to go, having a weather radio (and possibly other sources of weather information like a portable, battery operated TV, internet access, etc...) and sufficient batteries in the safe place, basic food and water should you be without power for multiple days, etc...).  

We cannot stress enough the importance of being prepared for this threat:

  • Make a plan and discuss it with your family
  • Determine your tornado shelter ahead of time 
  • Have at least 3 days of food and water on hand

The National Severe Storms Laboratory has an article that explains tornadoes and provides some very good pointers on preparing for a tornado:



Severe Weather Ravages South Last Weekend - Midwest Today?

by Jamie Robinson        April 19, 2011  |  12:13 pm  |  Category: Latest News

This past weekend saw a large, destructive outbreak of tornadoes in 15 states.  A total of 45 people died in 6 states.  The most recent being a 6 month old in North Carolina that was hospitalized after 25 tornadoes tore through the state Saturday.  Of the 25 tornadoes in North Carolina, 5 of them were rated EF3 (136 - 165 mph winds).  The 25 tornadoes are also the largest outbreak in the state since 1984 when 25 tornadoes broke out on March 28th killing 42 people.

The National Weather Service is investigating 267 reports of tornadoes from this past weekend.  Many of those will be duplicate reports of the same tornado but it underlines the immensity of the outbreak.  The outbreak was the deadliest in the U.S. since 2008.  The hardest hit states were Alabama, Mississippi and North Carolina.

Now, a new outbreak is set to hit the midwest today.  The Storm Prediction Center has placed parts of 8 states under a moderate risk of severe weather for today.  The increased risk is along a frontal boundary moving across the nation's mid-section. 


The threat exists for damaging winds, hail and tornadoes.  

Outlook for Tornadoes


Outlook for Hail

It is imperative that spotters and emergency management personnel, as well as the general public, closely monitor this developing situation.  Severe thunderstorms and tornadoes can develop rapidly and with very little warning.  Ensure that you have multiple sources of information (e.g. internet, weather radio, TV, Weather Defender) to help provide you with the most up-to-date information to help you remain safe.

Minnesota Governor Declares State of Emergency

by Jamie Robinson        April 8, 2011  |  12:21 pm  |  Category: Latest News

Gov. Mark Dayton declared a state of emergency in 46 of Minnesota's 87 counties due to high water along the Mississippi, Minnesota, St. Croix and Red Rivers.   As can be seen in these screenshots from Weather Defender, many of these rivers that are currently in experiencing flooding will continue to experience flooding during the April 7 - 12 timeframe. 


Reporting stations currently showing flooding concerns (Observed River Stages Layer - available to those with a commercial license)

Flooding outlook for April 7 - 12 (Flood Outlook Layer - available to those with a commercial license)

Unfortunately, the current 3 Day Convective Outlook places parts of Minnesota in a moderate risk of severe weather from Sunday into Monday next week.  This will likely bring additional, unwanted rain to an already water-logged area. 

For those living in the areas affected, be sure to watch for rapidly rising water and be sure to stay tuned to your local news outlets for more details on the local flooding situation. 


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