Ever since the massive April 2011 tornados ripped through Birmingham and North Alabama, I’ve had hard hats and bike helmets stored in my basement. You can never be too prepared for severe weather in the Magic City.
Tornadoes on Easter?
The U.S. National Weather Service Birmingham office has been issuing numerous warnings for the past few days about the possibility of very severe weather striking Central Alabama on Easter Day, April 12th.
The latest NWS map tells the story:
- Strong long track tornadoes
- Damaging winds up to 70 mph
- Golf ball sized hail
How bad could it be? Watch this video
Obviously, we all hope the forecasts will be wrong, but don’t bet on it. Just watch the Saturday, April 11, 1:00pm Facebook Live video from the NWS Birmingham Office describing what to expect on Easter Day.
Plan, Plan, Plan
So since we are all locked down right now with the COVID-19 crisis, take an hour or two and plan for some Easter severe weather.
One of the best websites to prepare you for tornados and severe weather is found at: https://www.weather.gov/safety/tornado-prepare
Below is an excerpt from the site.. As you can see, you need to make several plans, ranging from a communication plan, a plan where to shelter with your family and even a plan if your place is hit by a tornado.
- Be Weather-Ready: Check the forecast regularly to see if you’re at risk for tornadoes. Listen to local news or a NOAA Weather Radio to stay informed about tornado watches and warnings. Check the Weather-Ready Nation for tips.
- Sign Up for Notifications: Know how your community sends warnings. Some communities have outdoor sirens. Others depend on media and smart phones to alert residents of severe storms capable of producing tornadoes.
- Create a Communications Plan: Have a family plan that includes an emergency meeting place and related information. If you live in a mobile home or home without a basement, identify a nearby safe building you can get too quickly, such as a church or family member.
- Pick a safe room in your home, such as a basement, storm cellar, or an interior room on the lowest floor with no windows. Check more ideas for your family plan at: https://www.ready.gov/make-a-plan
- Practice Your Plan: Conduct a family severe thunderstorm drill regularly so everyone knows what to do if a tornado is approaching. Make sure all members of your family know to go there when tornado warnings are issued. Don’t forget pets if time allows.
- Prepare Your Home: Consider having your safe room reinforced. You can find plans for reinforcing an interior room to provide better protection on the Federal Emergency Management Agency website.
- Help Your Neighbor: Encourage your loved ones to prepare for the possibility of tornadoes. Take CPR training so you can help if someone is hurt.
Need more? Back in January, Bham Now also published a detailed severe weather checklist.
We “dusted” the link off just for you. Read it – HERE.
Follow NWS & Local Weather Stations
Finally, watch everything closely online or on TV. My “go to” site online site is the U.S. National Weather Service Birmingham Office on Facebook .
And of course, Birmingham is blessed with fantastic meteorologists on all the local TV stations.