Are You Weather-Alert Savvy? Find Out Here!

What do you do when you hear an emergency weather report? 

Some people immediately rush to their basement. Others think, “I‘d better keep an eye out while I continue about my business.” Still others assume it’s a false alarm unless they hear it again. 

They’ve all been right at one time or another. A tornado warning should send you to the lowest level of whatever building you’re in ASAP. Some alerts may be for severe weather that could miss your area. And yes, sometimes weather alerts are announced erroneously. 

Today I want to talk about the different types of weather safety alerts we get, including what they mean and how we should interpret them.

Advisories, watches and warnings

Let’s start with these three basics: advisories, watches, and warnings.

An advisory is issued when a hazardous weather or hydrologic event is occurring, imminent, or likely.

Advisories are for less serious conditions than what exists when watches and warnings are issued. They let you know that if conditions worsen, weather could lead to situations that may threaten life or property.

An advisory should not immediately send someone to their basement. But it should alert listeners to the potential for severe weather. They should continue to listen for updated reports. 

Watch for a watch

A watch means weather conditions are favorable for dangerous weather to occur. So, watch out for what could happen with the weather and be ready to take appropriate action. 

When you hear that a watch has been announced, you may want to consider changing your outdoor plans until that watch expires. 

A watch is obviously between an advisory and a warning. Don’t just wait in hopes that you may hear an updated report. Instead, watch for severe weather in your area, understanding you may have to take action quickly.

A winter storm watch, for example, means it’s a good time to stock up on emergency supplies if you haven’t already done so. And it means to keep checking to see if that watch turns into a warning.

Take heed of a warning

A warning means that a severe thunderstorm, tornado, flash flood, or other major weather event is very likely to occur or has already occurred in an area near you and might be moving toward you.

Get into the lowest part of whatever building you’re in as fast as possible. If you don’t have a basement, move into a room that is away from outside walls and has a door you can close.

A weather alert warning means it is not safe to travel or even venture outside. If you are outdoors when a warning is issued, find the nearest shelter.     

Some people who have ignored weather warnings are no longer around to regret their mistake. Please don’t be one of them.   

Straight from the horse’s mouth 

Standard radio and TVs are one way to keep track of extreme weather alerts. But they will always be behind what an emergency radio can provide you with.

That’s because they receive broadcasts from the National Weather Service. With an emergency radio, you can receive those alerts immediately.

You don’t have to wait for the TV or standard radio weather reporter to read that alert and then tell you about it.

Every second counts when it comes to avoiding severe weather that can cost you your life. Survivors have told countless stories about how having an emergency weather radio saved them.  

Extreme weather is increasing

It has become increasingly clear that extreme weather events are more and more common in America these days.

If you haven’t experienced one personally, you’ve certainly seen the resulting carnage on the news. It seems like every year we establish a new record for the number of storms. Such as hurricanes and tornadoes. 

And it’s not just the amount of storms. It’s their intensity. They are killing more people, displacing more people, and causing more structural damage than ever before.

That’s why it’s more important than ever to have dependable ways to receive weather alerts. They can save your life.

Cellphone alerts

Make sure you get weather alerts on your cellphone. Most of the newer phones have the Wireless Emergency Alerts (WEA) feature. It sends out a loud tone to warn you of an impending emergency.

There are also a number of weather apps you can download onto your cellphone. They include Storm Shield, iAlert, AccuWeather, and The Weather Channel. As well as weatherUSA, ping4alerts!, and The Emergency Email & Wireless Network. 

With Storm Shield, wherever you are, storm-based alerts are available. It does not use GPS, so it shouldn’t wear down your phone battery. iAlert provides weather warnings via text or email. You can select the alerts you want for any of 30,000-plus U.S. cities.

Ping4alerts! delivers alerts regarding weather, traffic, and school closures. Plus natural disasters, power outages, and more.    

Nothing beats a weather radio

But a National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) weather radio is the best way to keep tabs on weather threats in your area.

These radios broadcast official National Weather Service warnings, watches, forecasts, and other hazard information 24/7.

You can program your county’s six-digit code into this device. That way it will sound a loud alarm when potentially dangerous weather is approaching.

Some of these weather radios allow you to choose which particular alerts you want to receive. And which you don’t.

Liberty Band Solar Radio

Having access to critical information is key to surviving in any emergency. The NOAA weather radio I recommend is the Liberty Band Emergency Solar Radio from 4Patriots. It’s a great way to learn about – and avoid – threatening weather.

This lightweight tactical information hub features NOAA weather alerts and recharges with the sun. It has seven 24/7 weather channels and AM/FM and shortwave radio.

Plus LCD display clock with alarm and an ultra-bright flashlight. It can even power your cellphone when you need it most.

The Liberty Band will provide you with the advance notice you need to grab your survival gear and seek shelter. 

Here’s how to get yours…

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