The 2008 Windsor tornado highlighted just how dangerous weather in Colorado can be. Are you and your family prepared? Do you know what the watches and warnings all mean?
We’ve all seen TV or Internet news of a weather related watch or warning being issued. But, how many really know what they mean? There is a pretty big difference between the two and it is important to be aware just what it means to you so you can take the appropriate precautions.
Dozens of weather related fatalities occur every year in Colorado, many simply out of ignorance. Taking the time to be aware of the conditions around you and taking appropriate action will keep you from becoming a statistic.
Naturally you can get information on current advisories from television as local stations usually do a good job of “crawling” them on the screen when they are issued. This works well if you have a TV available but if not, the radio would be a secondary source. The Internet and the National Weather Service’s website are a great one when at a computer.
The problem with relying on news media or the Internet is that their ability to warn you of a developing weather situation is dependent on your monitoring them. Severe weather can strike without little warning. How will you know if severe weather is about to strike if you don’t have the TV or radio on?
Your first line of defense – NOAA All Hazards Radio
For just about anywhere, a special radio that picks up the NOAA’s All Hazard Radio broadcasts is the way to go and provides information from the source. Oftentimes simply called a weather radio, we highly recommend every household have one of these.
These radios are relatively inexpensive and allow you to be immediately notified of official National Weather Service warnings, watches, and forecasts as well as other hazard information like earthquakes, avalanches, chemical spills, and even AMBER alerts. In fact, with these radios, you will be notified at the exact same time the news media is made aware giving you a head start on preparing for a developing situation.
To learn more about these devices and what you should look for when buying one, click here.
A high-tech alternative – Cell phone weather apps
Many people now have smartphones that allow for downloadable apps and weather-related ones are among the most popular.
All of these applications have a number of weather related features in common. All provide current conditions for either the location the user is in now or for saved locations and all provide some sort of radar.
Most can be configured to sound an alert when the National Weather Service issues a watch or warning. While they are no substitue for a weather radio, these apps provide you with immediate notification no matter where you are at.
For a look at some of these weather apps and their features, click here.