Gadgets like weather radios and portable TVs are great during a storm, provided you can keep them powered up. So what can you do when you don’t have access to technology during a storm? As we close out Alabama’s Severe Weather Awareness Week, here are some low-tech tips for staying safe:
Tip #1: Learn to read the sky, especially cloud types, from professionals
The National Weather Service in Huntsville offers a class every spring and sometimes in the fall that moves throughout N. Alabama and S. Tennessee. WHNT News 19 Chief Meteorologist Jason Simpson explained, the class basically teaches you “everything you need to know about spotting tornadoes, wall clouds and other weather phenomenon.”
Tornadoes can be very hard to see in our area. They’re often rain-wrapped. Other warning signs though, like a green sky, are easier to spot and according to Simpson, “happen a lot in late spring and early summer when large hail is possible.”
Tip #2: Know the worst times of day and year for bad storms
Knowing when severe weather is most likely allows you to be extra vigilant when it counts. Severe weather seasons vary across the country but here in the Tennessee Valley the primary risk period is from late February to early May. Afternoons, when daytime heating is strongest, offer the biggest risk of trouble.
Tip #3: Know what kinds of bad weather are most likely to hit in your area
We’re used to seeing mega damage from tornadoes but actually in the Tennessee Valley,
“It’s a lot more common to have straightline winds than to have a tornado,” Simpson explained.
Those gusts of wind more than 100 mph can do serious damage on a mountain or on flat land – so no one in our area is really safe.
Flooding can also be a problem, so make sure to know the flood zones where you live and have the proper insurance. If you see water levels rising to a point that you haven’t seen before, it’s probably time to take steps to protect your property and belongings.