Photo credit: "Teresa Ingram removes debris from what is left of her mobile home after a tornado passed through destroying Billy Barbs mobile home park on Tuesday, April 29, 2014, in Athens, Ala." (AP Photo/Butch Dill).
Predicting severe weather is hard enough. Communicating it effectively, in an age of limitless media options, is even harder. Today marks the 49th anniversary of the historic 1965 tornado outbreak: five metro tornadoes, four of them F-4 in intensity, with estimated winds near 200 mph. Fridley was hit twice within 68 minutes. WCCO-AM stayed on the air with continuous coverage, saving countless lives.
But that was a simpler age, when nearly everyone was tuned to local radio & TV. Now we have Twitter, Facebook, apps and 300 channels. We have new tools to communicate, but no common digital hearth to gather around when things get really bad. Which makes things more challenging, and one (of many) reasons why many TV meteorologists have ulcers on their ulcers. In additionl to live cut-ins on the air, now they're expected to update radio stations, web pages and social media.
One word of advice: don't depend on sirens, and do invest in a NOAA Weather Radio for your home & office. That, and a strong dose of common sense works wonders. Listen to your gut.
Severe storms are possible, especially Thursday, as warm, juicy air surges northward; jet stream winds aloft strong enough to whip up large hail, even a few tornadoes.
Hey, at least it won't snow.
1 to 2 inches of rain may soak your lawn later this week. Clearing on Saturday gives way to another warm spike and severe risk by Monday.
It's a soggy pattern, but we're finally limping into spring.
Photo credit above: "An areal view of the destruction along Louisa Drive in Mounds View." Picture courtesy of the Minnesota Historical Society, Photograph Collection.
* Claims Journal reports Arkansas EF-4 destroyed 328 homes.
Photo credit above: "Rubble from the mobile home belonging to 60-year-old John Prince and his wife, 44-year-old Karen Prince, is scattered in a field Tuesday, April 29, 2014, near Fayetteville, Tenn. The couple was killed Monday when the home was thrown about one-quarter mile from its foundation. Around 50 tornadoes ravaged the South Monday, according to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration's Storm Prediction Center." (AP Photo/Mark Humphrey).
Photo credit above: "This home to left in the Vilonia (Faulkner County) area had cut nails instead of anchor bolts to fasten the structure to the foundation. To the southwest of Roland (Pulaski County), another home had anchor bolts (to right), but there were no signs of any washers or nuts to hold the walls in place. Both homes were wiped from their slabs by a tornado (rated EF4) on 04/27/2014."
Researchers: Simple Changes May Help Homes Better Survive Tornadoes. TuscaloosaNews has an article that points out specific steps homeowners can take to withstand tornado winds. Very little (short of steel-reinforced concrete) will survive an extreme EF-4 or EF-5, but then again extreme tornadoes make up only 1-2% of all tornadoes. Here's an excerpt: "Researchers, including faculty and students from the University of Alabama, who studied the aftermath of a devastating 2013 tornado in Oklahoma say simple design changes could improve the survivability of wood-frame structures such as residential homes during tornadoes. “There are some simple things you could do to keep you house together,” said Andrew Graettinger, the research team’s lead investigator..."
Photo credit above: "Tasters have compared Soylent to Cream of Wheat and “my grandpa’s Metamucil.” Photograph by Henry Hargreaves.
Photo credit above: "An unusually nice day (by Beijing standards) meant Jing-A’s Airpocalypse IPA was sold at nearly full price during its launch on Sunday." Debra Bruno for The Wall Street Journal.
Photo credit above: "This March 13, 2014 file photo shows cracks in the dry bed of the Stevens Creek Reservoir in Cupertino, Calif. The Obama administration is more certain than ever that global warming is changing Americans' daily lives and will worsen — conclusions that scientists will detail in a massive federal report to be released Tuesday, May 6, 2014." (AP Photo/Marcio Jose Sanchez, File).
Gardening For Climate Change. No, what worked in the 70s may not work today. Weather volatility is on an upswing with more crazy extremes, and that makes gardening more complicated and challenging than ever. Here's an excerpt of a story at The New York Times: "...How do we garden in a time of climate change? It seemed to me that everything I knew about gardening, and much of what I enjoyed, was based on a set of assumptions about the climate. But it’s different now. We have to figure out how to garden with the new seasons, such as they are. Extreme gardening for an extreme climate. I’m just beginning to figure out the practical implications of this adaptive approach, but the point seems pretty clear to me: keeping things alive that won’t make it otherwise. Climate change is going to force us to work hard at something Homo sapiens has never been very good at: keeping other species around..." (Photo: Tricia Frostad).
"Cosmos" Star Scientist Neil deGrasse Tyson Speaks Out On Climate Change. Here's a clip from a story at Media Matters: "Astrophysicist Neil deGrasse Tyson has found a surprising home on FOX Broadcasting Network to host Cosmos: A Spacetime Odyssey. In the 13-part documentary series, Tyson's advocacy of scientific literacy -- particularly related to climate change -- is directly at odds with its sister network, Fox News. In the latest episode of Cosmos, Tyson devoted the hour to the Earth's history of changing climates and subsequent mass extinctions. He ended the show by forecasting the next mass extinction due to climate change, imploring his audience to break society's "addiction" to fossil fuel..."