Message From The Chief
Four seasons in one day. This can feel like a normal occurrence in Texas. Temperatures can soar and then plummet within hours. Following a bitter winter season, most people embrace any opportunity to get outdoors and shake off the cold - but don't get too cozy. Spring is notorious for some of the worst storms of the year. Warm weather, when colliding with cold air from Canada or the Rockies, can result in thunderstorms that spawn tornadoes with next to no warning. These violent storms call for our vigilance.
A "possible tornado" might as well be a real tornado, when it comes to preparedness. Even if you and I had Doppler radars in our respective yards, once a tornado is forecast, it's time to take action. A Watch (tornado is possible) can turn into a Warning (tornado is occurring) and once it starts, tornadoes don't discriminate when it comes to damage.
As of the end of March, Texas had logged 10 tornadoes: 1 at the EF2 level (111-135 mph) and all the others EF1 or EF0 level (<110 mph). Just because one isn't packing 200+ mph winds, which tends to result in the most fatalities, doesn't mean less violent ones are harmless. 82% of local warnings for tornadoes won't result in an actual twister but it's the less intense ones that are hardest to predict and more common.
What should you do?
Pay attention to local area radio, NOAA radio or TV stations, and sign up for alerts on your phone.
Forget the old myth of opening windows to relieve pressure in your house. If you hear a train, where no train should be, or what sounds like a jet auguring in, opening windows is time wasted— the pressure relieved is too minimal to make a difference, and closed windows might actually prevent rain and debris from blowing in. A better use of your time…
Get underground if possible, maybe a basement, safe room, or windowless, interior room. Store some spare pillows and even a mattress in this space for covering yourself if you're in a tornado-prone zone.
Stay off roads if possible and do not use an overpass as a shelter.
Here are more links and tips to explore for you and your family's safety:
Coastal Bend Emergency Management Association & Regional Exercise
The Coastal Bend Emergency Management Association & Nueces County, in cooperation with numerous governmental and non-government partners, are hosting the eighth annual Coastal Bend Hurricane Conference & Regional Exercise on May 2 & 3 at the Richard M. Borchard Regional Fairgrounds in Robstown, TX. This conference is successful in drawing professionals from the lower Texas Coast and ensuring all community stakeholders have access to high quality training and networking. The audience includes professionals with experience ranging from those new to emergency management, to those who are expert emergency managers; and incorporates the full range of local, state and federal government responders and policy makers, volunteer organizations, healthcare professionals, private business and industry representatives.
2018 Texas Emergency Management Conference & TEMAC Meetings
There's still time! Register today for the 2018 Texas Emergency Management Conference (TEMC). Don't forget to submit your best photos for this year's photo contest.
We're looking forward to seeing you all there!
Chief W. Nim Kidd, MPA, CEM®, TEM®
Follow @chiefkidd on Twitter