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Old 04-03-2009, 07:55 AM
 
Location: West Cobb County, GA (Atlanta metro)
9,188 posts, read 30,226,890 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Bowie View Post
I wouldn't live in a US city that has tornadoes without one of these on the bedside table. Far too few people in the country have them though. If their community doesn't have sirens, the folks who don't have a weather alert radio won't get any warning when a tornado comes to their community while they sleep.
I have a weather radio right next to my bed. They're around $29 these days and you can program specific counties into them so they only go off when alerts are issued in those counties only. We do have sirens in my area, but when indoors and asleep you can't always rely on hearing those, so radios are better options.

Some services now also let you sign up where they'll send you a text message on your cell phone when alerts are issued, but those can get annoying as sometimes you get multiple texts for the same alert, depending on the service. I have three dogs though - they won't LET me sleep through bad weather, so they're probably better at alerts than any technology right now. They're all older though, so once they're gone (and I take a break from dog ownership), I'll have to rely on the tech more.

Most of the tornadoes we get in Western Georgia are smaller (F0/F1 mostly) and "bounce" around. They're not the large F5 things that stay on the ground forever like out West. If I lived in Oklahoma or Kansas I think I'd have to build a concrete bunker 20 feet underground in order to deal with living in an area that gets those.
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Old 04-03-2009, 08:03 AM
 
Location: SW Missouri
15,847 posts, read 30,349,542 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by hkgal View Post
I am also from NZ where I don't think I've ever heard of there being a tornado - at least not one that endangers any lives. I was staying in St Louis and we were outside BBQ-ing when all of a sudden - hello - the enormous BBQ just about took off and the outdoor umbrella snapped in two. I remember looking up at the sky and seeing that it had turned green, and having flash-backs to the National Geographic magazine with pictures of giant tornadoes and green skies. We ran to the basement (which i couldn't really see protecting us if the house flew away) and turned on the radio and they were reporting a bunch of tornadoes touching down in the county. I have no idea how close they were, but after that I couldn't sleep and all I wanted was to get the hell out, and thus far have refused to go back after that trauma! I've always said I won't live anywhere that has tornadoes, they are scarier than anything I can think of. I can deal with typhoons that we get here, but forget tornadoes.
Tornadoes do not just "appear". They are usually associated with very strong and large storms. It probably was not a good idea to BBQ in bad weather to begin with.

20yrsinBranson
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Old 04-03-2009, 09:43 AM
 
11,172 posts, read 22,366,973 times
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Normally there is a huge squall line moving through, so before going to sleep you're aware storms are on the way, be it in an hour or 4 hours. The storms with lightning hit first, and the tornadoes are normally on the back edge. It's unusual that the lightning and thunder wouldn't have woken you.

I do remember once though when I was young my family was sound asleep and awoken by the sirens blaring at 4am. We were kinda freaked out since everyone was half asleep, quickly turning on the TV to see what was happening.

Regardless, while the threat is out there, even in "tornado alley", the chances of being struck are VERY small.

Here is an example of the sirens...it's pretty creepy, but almost exciting/cool at the same time.


YouTube - Tornado Warning High Above Downtown Chicago

This is creepy:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-Kk0dJpgSEU
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Old 04-03-2009, 12:33 PM
 
Location: West Cobb County, GA (Atlanta metro)
9,188 posts, read 30,226,890 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by terrence81 View Post
Some people get upset and carry on. Not me. I've never stayed up late. I rarely take sirens seriously. If I know it's going to be real bad I just unplug non essential items. Stay away from windows. I've been known to sleep through tornadoes.
The next time you want to ignore the sirens and sleep through the tornadoes, you might want to think twice....

What happens to a house during a tornado
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Old 04-03-2009, 02:09 PM
 
Location: OKLAHOMA CITY
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ahhh, springtime in oklahoma. i can hear the sirens now. i may be in the middle of tornado ally, but this city has the most advanced warning system in the u.s. and the forecasters are top notch.
ive seen some really big ones and they are amazing. scary....but amazing.
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Old 04-03-2009, 02:44 PM
 
40,106 posts, read 24,345,620 times
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The forecasts are amazing. A couple of years ago we had an outbreak of tornadoes in our county, and the television weatherman were bringing up maps and showing the streets where the rotations could be seen. One came down along a highway about a half mile from my house, another destroyed a neighborhood 4 blocks from my brother's house. But they had been warning all day about severe weather moving into the area that morning, and people were watching the news closely. No one was injured, even though it was dark when the tornadoes began forming.
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Old 04-03-2009, 02:52 PM
 
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We live in a section of Alabama that sees almost as many tornadoes as Oklahoma. What's more, because Alabama is hilly and heavily forested, it's almost impossible to see one coming until it is upon you. Plus tornados in Alabama tend not to be well-defined but rather buried in a wall cloud. So one has to be very mindful when the weather is turning upon you.

1. You can tell several hours ahead of time when conditions are ripe for a tornado. The air has an unsettled, greasy feel to it--almost a disquieting feel.

2. In this part of the country, the weather forecasters and the television stations have an excellent record of alerting people ahead of time. For example, anytime a tornado is spotted within a county, all the tornado sirens go off within that county. You can hear those things for miles.

3. With television stations equipped with weather radar, you can pretty much get up-to-the-minute details on where a tornado is headed, and whether or not you need to take cover.

I remember in 1998, an F5 rampaged through the western suburbs of Birmingham, killing 32 people and injuring 250 more. Then, miraculously, when it got to a heavily populated part of town, it lifted off the ground. The twister was off the ground over downtown Birmingham and the airport, and then set down again over a sparsely settled part of the metro area. The twister passed within a mile of my house. It was the middle of the night and, as I stood on my front porch, I could hear the roar and the lightning and the pressure dropped so much my ears popped.

If that tornado had remained on the ground through the downtown area, it very well might have been the worst tornado in history. The city dodged a bullet that night. This report on the tornado makes for interesting reading:

NOAA's National Weather Service - Birmingham, Alabama (http://www.srh.noaa.gov/bmx/significant_events/1998/04_08/index.php - broken link)

But, if you have a basement, your odds improve dramatically. And if you live in a mobile home, your odds of surviving one are very low. The fact that the National Weather Service advises you to leave a mobile home during a tornado and lie in a ditch should tell you how unsafe those structures are.
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Old 04-03-2009, 04:22 PM
 
Location: Cortland, Ohio
3,323 posts, read 9,568,403 times
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Here in Northeast Ohio we have a few tornado warnings per year, but it's very rare for a tornado to touch down here. We get both Cleveland and Youngstown news channels and when there are bad storms or when conditions are right i can choose from 6-8 different weathermen/women. Anyway, they are always showing the radar, rotation, what time the storm will hit each town, etc.

When i was six years old (in 1985) we had some pretty severe storms come through our area and a tornado touched down in our county. I remember the sky looking really funny and the tornado siren going off, we had also heard from a local HAM radio guy that a tornado had been spotted about 10 miles away. We retreated to the basement and it was very scary. We didn't get hit by the tornado, but lightning hit a tree in our front yard, then entered our underground electric line and blew our electric meter off the side of the house. According to my mom we didn't have electricity for a week, but i don't remember that. For years any time it stormed i retreated to the basement. I was also scared of those darn sirens.

Now i don't get too scared when it storms and usually i sleep right through them (after checking the weather first), but if that siren goes off or a crack of thunder sounds too close i'm awake and downstairs in a jiffy. The only time i really get scared now is when the electric is out and the siren goes off.........all you can hear is the storm and the siren.........everything else is quiet and dark, so that's the scary part. I don't like not having lights and the sound of the siren is super eerie!
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Old 04-03-2009, 09:33 PM
 
Location: Albany (school) NYC (home)
893 posts, read 2,518,180 times
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Luckily. Long Island rarely if ever gets a tornado. A tornado is the least likely natural disaster to happen on Long Island out of all the other disasters.
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Old 04-03-2009, 10:03 PM
 
Location: OKIE-Ville
5,412 posts, read 7,705,831 times
Reputation: 3054
Quote:
Originally Posted by atlantagreg30127 View Post
I have a weather radio right next to my bed. They're around $29 these days and you can program specific counties into them so they only go off when alerts are issued in those counties only. We do have sirens in my area, but when indoors and asleep you can't always rely on hearing those, so radios are better options.

Some services now also let you sign up where they'll send you a text message on your cell phone when alerts are issued, but those can get annoying as sometimes you get multiple texts for the same alert, depending on the service. I have three dogs though - they won't LET me sleep through bad weather, so they're probably better at alerts than any technology right now. They're all older though, so once they're gone (and I take a break from dog ownership), I'll have to rely on the tech more.

Most of the tornadoes we get in Western Georgia are smaller (F0/F1 mostly) and "bounce" around. They're not the large F5 things that stay on the ground forever like out West. If I lived in Oklahoma or Kansas I think I'd have to build a concrete bunker 20 feet underground in order to deal with living in an area that gets those.
>>>>>
I'd have to build a concrete bunker 20 feet underground
<<<<<

Yeh, for Okies that's really just kind of overstated. We're just used to having some storms. In fact, most Okies I know like to sit on their porch and watch 'em. Hence, we do not live our lives in fear of twisters. All we need to do is listen to the radio and watch Gary England twangin' on the news (<---any Okies reading this will get this reference.)
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