Are You Ready For Severe Weather?

It’s now officially Spring, bluebonnets are in full bloom, the freezing weather is pretty much over but now we transition into severe weather season. Severe Weather? Even though we don’t live in North Texas, Oklahoma, or Kansas we can still see severe weather. We saw some severe weather last week in our area but I’ll focus on that in a bit. Why now? It’s that time of year where warm gulf moist air collides with cool dry arctic air from Canada. What helps fuel these storms are clashes of air masses, fronts, low pressure systems, jetstreams, and in part the sun.

In South Texas, we typically see the West Texas dryline and/or cold fronts that cause our severe weather. This year is predicted to be an active severe weather season for most of the country including us here in South Texas.  This is all related to El Nino (The warming of the waters in the Eastern Pacific Ocean). This affects the jetstream which can help fuel storm intensity. For example if a storm develops and taps into that jetstream the storm can go severe quickly.

There is one misconception when it comes to severe weather. That is…people believe that you can’t have severe weather at night. The truth is you can have severe weather at all hours of the day. It’s more prevalent in the late afternoon hours. Storms can be part of something we call MCS or Mesoscale Convective System. An MCS is a big fancy word for large area of storms. This can be in the form of single supercell thunderstorms, cluster of thunderstorms in one area, or a squall line. MCS’s can travel hundreds of miles and be severe with high winds, heavy rain, lightning, and tornadoes.

One of my biggest fears is having a tornado in the middle of the night when people are asleep. Such was the case this past Wednesday. We had a Tornado Warning go out for parts of Guadalupe, Caldwell and Gonzales counties at 1am. The warning was issued because National Weather Service(NWS) saw some rotation on radar. No word if one actually touchdown.

I used to live in Norman, Oklahoma while attending The University of Oklahoma and every Friday(on clear weather days) they had a tornado siren test. It was annoying to hear when a certain somebody was trying to sleep in between classes.  What didn’t help too was the ROTC firing off their cannon on some days but that’s a different story. Ha Ha! I’m kidding.

That was great to have that up there. Some people hate tornado sirens because they are too loud. Really? Wonder why? Others hate them because they are an eye sore to look at it. It clashes with the landscape. There are many more complaints about them but I don’t live next to one anymore so I can’t say anything but if it saves even one life one day, then I’ll take ’em.

So back to last week. How many reading this blog that live around San Antonio (particularly in the warned area) knew about the Tornado Warning? I don’t think many. Our weather watcher who lives in Seguin said she knew nothing of it. You can see where Seguin is in relation to the warning. People told me they heard the thunder with these storms here in San Antonio, thought it was a regular thunderstorm (which it was), but it got me wondering “What if there had been a Tornado Warning for Bexar county, how would you have known if you were alseep?

So how do you keep you and your family safe while you’re asleep? I recommend a weather radio. There are many companies out there and you can purchase one at just about any electronics store or on the web. The National Weather Service has a website to help answer some questions: Weather Radio Info. The cool thing is (depending on make/model) they have what’s called SAME technology. This helps in reducing the amount of alerts by you choosing which areas you want to be warned for. Weather radios can cost anywhere from $20-$200 depending on which one you get.  I can’t endorse one company but on that website they have a list of suppliers, just click under “Receiver Information”. You can also find out how to set it up with what frequencies you need for your area. Be a smart consumer and read reviews from other people before buying.

We’ve talked with the National Weather Service forecast office in New Braunfels on limiting the amount of Flash Flood Watches alerts that come out. For a while there last year, we were hearing that people were turning off their radios because they woke them up to say that a Flash Flood Watch continues to be in effect. NWS told us that they would not issue Flash Flood Watch continuances in the middle of the night anymore.

As always, you can count on the KSAT-12 Weather Team to keep you informed with any severe weather on KSAT-12, KSAT.com, JustWeather.com. Any questions let me know: Brian Alonzo balonzo@ksat.com

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One Comment on “Are You Ready For Severe Weather?”

  1. mon Says:

    I had fun reading this post. I want to see more on this subject.. Gives Thanks for writing this pleasant article.. Anyway, I


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