Severe Weather Season Is Heating Up

Our thoughts and prayers go out to the people in Moore, Oklahoma, struck by the devastating tornado on Monday.

This region of Oklahoma is in "Tornado Alley" and they are no strangers to severe weather. The same area was hit in May 1999, by an EF-5 tornado. That storm produced winds of 318 mph, the strongest tornadic winds ever recorded.

Monday's monster storm was more than a mile and a half wide, first classified as an EF-4 tornado. It has since been re-classified today as an EF-5 storm. The destruction is just unimaginable, and the number of injured and fatalities are still being counted.  Relief agencies are there, and more help is on the way. If you want to know where or how to help, click here.

The stormy weather in the Chicago area overnight was from the same weather system that produced that deadly Oklahoma tornado. There were wind gusts of 40-60 mph here, too, and heavy rain in areas still recovering from flooding in April.

When the Severe Weather Seminar was held at Fermilab on April 6, it was early in the severe weather season, although tornadoes have certainly developed in April before. This year has been relatively quiet, so far. The  cool spring has been a contributing factor, but now as the warm days return, so does the possibility of tornadoes and damaging storms.

Now, it looks like the severe weather season is heating up.  Today, Tom Skilling reported, "hundreds of severe weather reports including dozens of tornadoes have been tallied by Storm Prediction Center in the past 2 days."

Maybe  you have questions about Tornado Alley,  tornadoes, derechos, the Fujita Scale, or storm chasers, and I will write about that another time.

I think the most important question right now is what to do in the event of a tornado, so I am linking to this excellent post by Tween Us blogger, Shannan Younger, with vital information and safety tips here.

And, don't forget your pets!  Raining Cats and Dogs has advice on how to prepare for tornadoes and floods if you have pets with you.

 

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