Posts Tagged ‘Tornado’

Storm Prepping: Your bug out bag and shelter

I’ve been posting about weather stuff here and on Facebook for a number of years.

With that in mind here is the prep list I keep in my own storm shelter and a retailer you can find it from. I’ve also broken this down in to 2 categories: Necessities and options. The former are must haves. The latter not so much.

There are tons of people who have ideas as to what you need. Do not take my word as gospel. Look around. Conduct some research. There are several books that I can strongly recommend. This list should get you started at least.

Minor items are to put reflective tape on the door to your shelter so it can be more easily seen at night. Use red and white so it can be seen in day time as well. Tell friends and neighbors where your shelter is located.

I am also assuming you already have a weather radio. If you do not, I strongly suggest you make it part of your list.

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By now, the media has updated everyone on the events of the weekend. I wanted to share a thought this morning with one of the groups of people I work to try to keep appraised on the side, and whom I thought could appreciate the scenario.

If you own a weather radio or read the NOAA updates, you have probably heard or read the end tag “Spotter Activation will not be needed” at the end of a report. Or the ever worrisome “Spotter Activation will be needed at…..” and wondered what it all meant.

Those are the lines that put me and other spotter/chasers in to action each night on a alert level. Without muddying the waters I get called for other items but those lines are a “Heads up!” alert for all the spotter organizations in an area to be ready, we think it is serious. These individuals, groups, and teams- all volunteers, will spring in to action and spend their day, evening and often nights trying to keep the various NWS offices appraised with scientific data, visual cues, and imagery to help us send alerts, balloons, and warnings to the national media and direct systems like weather radios.

The price was heavy in keeping folks appraised over the weekend. Three men whom I have had the pleasure of working with since my start in the weather industry Paul Samaras, Tim Samaras and Carl Young residents of Colorado and California, died while trying to plant a measuring device in front of the Canadian County tornado.

It is one reason I seldom directly chase anymore. The storms are getting more unpredictable in the last 2 years (from my perspective anyway), and the influx of what we call “storm lice” or folks who are not professional storm chasers but throw themselves in front of storms recklessly because they think it fun, or cool has increased three fold. So you no longer are simply concerned with just a storm, but with endangerment of those around you. It’s a nightmare scenario, personally. However, I do chase, and did that night from Tulsa, through Bella Vista, Exeter, Cassville and in to Springfield and past in to Marshfield. We were spread too thin, with too many storms, and too little chasers.

I know how many folks will react, pointing out that storm chasers take risks. I wanted to say that Tim did not take risks. Tim was as cautions as they come. The storm made a hard jog north as Tim tried to place instrumentation in its path and his safety zone became a danger zone. One, that with a tornado that spun up as rapidly as this one did, he could not escape. Even with 4 weather centers, and over 12 people watching the storm, and the radar, myself included, none of us could contact Tim fast enough to have him change course…the storm moved that fast.

These were folks I have shared coffee with, talked with, swapped E-mails with and spoke with. They were not nameless entities on a computer or celebrities on a TV screen. What they did saved countless lives in other places and their information that night went directly to NWS Norman to call for the cover of at least 3 cities before they were struck. In any occupation, you have the risk takers…from snowboarding to boating. I just wanted to set the record straight that they was none of these, as they were good people trying to do something good to help others.

Moreover, the fact of the matter is the casualty rate was much lower than it could have been in OKC, people were prepared despite the mass chaos and dangerous storm going through a heavily populated metropolitan area. All of that is directly because of people like Tim, Paul and Carl. Because of them, we could coordinate, identify damage, and send out warnings to the places that needed them. We received measurements, visual identification, pictures, video, and calculations. None of which we would have without boots on the ground in a dangerous environment.

We have more storms coming this week. Starting tomorrow night most likely and again at the end of the week. As we measure the back build I’ll let you know what’s coming. Right now, count on hail, and high winds. And Spotters being in the field

Advisory: Joplin tornado response resources are being requested through established mutual aid agreements

The State Emergency Management Agency (SEMA) continues to work with Missouri state and local agencies to provide all necessary response resources to Joplin, following Sunday’s deadly tornado

Responders are being coordinated through established regional mutual aid agreements and requests filed with SEMA for state and federal resources.

Missourians interested in volunteering to assist should first call (800) 427-4626 or 2-1-1, instead of reporting directly to a command post or the disaster area. Those with medical skills interested in volunteering should go to:

Missourians wishing to make donations to help with the relief effort can go to or call (800) 427-4626 or 2-1-1.

Residents affected by the tornado who wish to notify their friends and family that they are safe should go to: Friends and family who would like to check on their loved ones in the affected area can use the same site.

Missourians who need disaster information, shelter information or referrals are urged to call

2-1-1. The United Way’s 211 service number is now available for most areas in Missouri. In areas where the 211 number is not operational, citizens can call 800-427-4626.

Finger of God

Last night possibly the worst storm in 29 years rolled through the south east.

More than 200 people are dead across five southern states following what the National Weather Service is calling the deadliest wave of tornadoes since 1974.

Five southern states — Alabama, Georgia, Mississippi, Tennessee and Virginia — are reporting fatalities, with officials reporting at least 141 dead in Alabama and eight in Virginia.

Tornado riping through Alabama

This storm barely missed my town of Smyrna, and we were lucky.  Too many people lost their lives, and I struggle to find a reason for it.

Last night around 8:00, I started getting ready for the worst.  Mind you, I am rarely uneasy about storms, but this one seemed different.  It was just so hot and humid outside, and with a violent thunderstorm on its way, I knew this is what breeds tornado’s.  Unfortunately little else is known about why tornado’s strike with very little warning.

Fear sunk in as I watched the radar and the swirling red and yellow approaching, it was very sobering as I looked around our humble home and chose which of my valuables to save.  I packed a couple bags, of course the diaper bag for the baby with diapers and a change of clothes, milk, and juice.  Then I looked to our personal valuables.  I packed our firebox with priceless jewelry, some files, birth certs and marriage licenses, social security cards.  We took our baby’s book which had all the first memories, first hair clippings, and my computers and backup hard drive.

While looking at our bags, and got ready to start taking them down to the neighbors basement, I wondered how many by daybreak won’t even have these few things left.

Every time I hear of a storm, virtualy just wind and rain, 2 of the things that supply life, that is taking lives I have to wonder….

Why does this happen? How is it that 2 of the most important things that sustain human life kill so many people?

Bloodspite said it best when we talk of tornado’s, “They are the literal Finger of God”

I pray for the families that lost loved ones and of the families that lost their houses and businesses, nothing left to do now but to pick up the pieces and move on….


Riders of the Storm

Those of you who followed us on Twitter and FB last night know it was a long night.

If you have seen the headlines this morning,  …a very…long…night.

I got about 2 hours sleep before hitting the ground running for my real job.

Our prayers go out to the families and friends of the lost.

If you want to thank any of the guys and girls who made our little informational possible…look on the right hand side under “Riders of the Storm”.

Keeping you informed by braving dangers is what they do.

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Storms Claim 6 during the night

The Atoka, OK Tornado

Six people lost their lives last night. UPDATE: 7 reported. 5 for Arkansas.

Severe weather is a funny thing. It can roll in like a beast and swamp you before you have a chance to act. That wasn’t the case last night.

People were joking last night about the amount of notice we had about the storms.

But the kicker comes when the Storm Prediction Center was not issuing watches for the State of Arkansas. Countless meteorologists and storm chasers, as well as armchair weather geeks like myself were asking the same question last night:

Where. are. the. watches.? Where?

When the Storm Prediction Center (SPC) of the NOAA declares a Watch it is a pretty substantial action. The whole intention of the watch process being ran by the SPC is because of the sheer area they can monitor and cover, versus the more locally driven National Weather Service (NWS) which relies on local information and local announcements.

Can I say that those folks were placed in harms way due to a lack of action by the SPC?

Not directly. but what I can say is it has been proven, by the SPC’s own reports, that early warnings and watches save lives.

And last night that did not happen. By the time the SPC issued the watch for Arkansas there was already a report of a tornado on the ground due North in Missouri that came right across the Bentonville, Bella Vista area. Fortunately in Missouri we had our watches easily a full 45 minutes before it hit.

No matter how you cut it, last night was inexcusable.

2011: Sickness & Storms

My immune system is a joke.

It didn’t used to be so. But several years of Parkinson cocktails have left it on life support. I used to never get sick. About once a year was the average.

But I’ve spent the last week so sick I could barely lift my head off the couch. A bout with pneumonia has left me feeling like a kitten today as I returned to work.

It’s been a helluva year so far. I spent 2 weeks nearly in my house due to record breaking snow in the area. I missed this last week due to being sick.

And now of course it’s almost that time of year again here in the Midwest. With spring comes green, rain, spring storms and of course, tornado‘s.

But between now and then they are calling for snow again this week.

My experience with 2011 isn’t much different I think, than our nation as a whole.

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Sometimes it pays to be Late to work

I’m still shaking.

I’m not a proud man, but I’m usually fairly cool about things.

However having your 4×4 tossed around like a 50 cent carnival ride from hell will definitely shake your resolve.

I was heading in to Monett, MO this morning to my job. I was running late by about 5 minutes.

That 5 minutes may have saved my life.

Pictures after the jump

UPDATED: With more Picture Links to the local news

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Shelter from the Storms

“Fanatics in power and the funnel of a tornado have this in common – the narrow path in which they move is marked by violence and destruction”

Oscar Ostlund

Domestic-6 and I have been doing what we call gambling for quite a while.

No, it does not involve cards, slot machines, or casino’s. We prefer our money in our pockets thanks

What it does involve is our home and our lives.

We live in the minimal outskirts of whats better known as Tornado Alley.  Have for several years. Two years ago we watched a tornado tear through the towns of Pea Ridge and Little Flock, 8 miles south of us. We can see the town from our house as we live on a ridge overlooking the area. We also live in what is somewhat fondly referred to as a “Live-In-Kite”. Or a “Matchbox.”

I am referring of course to a modular and mobile home.

We preferred owning a place to renting, and instead of buying a home that we knew was out of our budget , we bought a sizable piece of land we could afford and a very reasonable priced home.

It has served us well.

But we have not had, until recently, was a shelter for when those twisters come calling. Probably not a smart thing all things considered. While our area is average for tornado strikes in the region, we’re still 143% more likely than anywhere else in the United States.

So as I said, gambling.

We rectified that as of this morning.

Bringing the top in to be sealed...

Bringing the top in to be sealed...

It looks like something you may have expected our parents to build in the back yard during the Cold War. But don’t knock it,

The Stats on this are literal life savers.

  • Inside dimensions 6′ wide, 8′ long and 6’2″ tall
  • Weighs in excess of 12,000 lbs
  • Will easily accommodate 9 people.
  • 30″ wide door
  • 3 heavy duty weld-on hinges with grease fittings for lubrication
  • Pressurized gas strut for easy opening and closing
  • 3 latches including a center safety latch which allows the door to be opened from the inside even if it was padlocked from the outside
  • 64″ long staircase with handrails on both sides and anti-skid strips on each step
  • Extremely dense concrete with a pressure rating of 6,000 lbs. per square inch
Back filling is all thats left

Back filling is all thats left

Our new neighbor has been gambling as well, staying in a camper while he builds his home. He does not see a point in owning a shelter. I’m sure there are some folks tonight in Pearson, AR who will disagree with him.

If you in the Southwest Missouri/Northwest Arkansas area, I will be happy to give you the gentleman’s name and number who installed mine. He did the entire job for considerably less than $3,000.

As for me and mine we’re taken care of, now. And I’m thankful for it.

Our home, still….not so much. But the important things will be Ok.

And thats what really matters.

Radio Intercepts

Hell I want it to happen. The current program is beyond broken.…

  • photo from Tumblr


    Did i go Overboard? My coworker picked up some tilted barn, and a vintage bottle for me, Trillium had a release today , and my tavour order arrived.. i guess im full.

    Can never go overboard with good booze!


  • photo from Tumblr

    So it was this holiday…..


  • photo from Tumblr

    Hands down my favorite Mexico cerveza. Colombe Smoked Black IPA


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