Category Archives: Weather Ready Nation

Be Prepared for Earthquakes

Know what to do if an earthquake strikes and be prepared ahead of time. Take part in the Great ShakeOut Earthquake Drills, part of America’s PrepareAthon.

In MOST situations, you will reduce your chance of injury if you Drop, Cover, and Hold On:

DROP where you are, onto your hands and knees. This position protects you from being knocked down and also allows you to stay low and crawl to shelter if nearby.

COVER your head and neck with one arm and hand

  • If a sturdy table or desk is nearby, crawl underneath it for shelter
  • If no shelter is nearby, crawl next to an interior wall (away from windows)
  • Stay on your knees; bend over to protect vital organs

HOLD ON until the shaking stops.

  • Under shelter: hold on to it with one hand; be ready to move with your shelter if it shifts
  • No shelter: hold on to your head and neck with both arms and hands.

Continue to read for further recommended earthquake safety actions.

Prepare in advance!

Steps to Prepare, Survive, and Recover

  • Secure your space
  • Prepare a disaster plan
  • Prepare a communication plan
  • Have a personal and household disaster supply kit
  • Organize important documents in a grab and go bag
  • Prepare for reconnecting and recovery

Hurricanes – Be Prepared!

Hurricanes season runs from June 1 to November 30 each year. Over a typical 2-year period, the U.S. coastline is struck by an average of 3 hurricanes, 1 of which is classified as a major hurricane (winds of 111 mph or greater).

Plan ahead and be prepared!

While hurricanes pose the greatest threat to life and property, tropical storms and depression also can be devastating. The primary hazards from tropical cyclones (which include tropical depressions, tropical storms, and hurricanes) are storm surge flooding, inland flooding from heavy rains, destructive winds, tornadoes, and high surf and rip currents.

  • Storm surge is the abnormal rise of water generated by a storm’s winds. This hazard is historically the leading cause of hurricane related deaths in the United States. Storm surge and large battering waves can result in large loss of life and cause massive destruction along the coast.
  • Storm surge can travel several miles inland, especially along bays, rivers, and estuaries.
  • Flooding from heavy rains is the second leading cause of fatalities from land falling tropical cyclones. Widespread torrential rains associated with these storms often cause flooding hundreds of miles inland. This flooding can persist for several days after a storm has dissipated.
  • Winds from a hurricane can destroy buildings and manufactured homes. Signs, roofing material, and other items left outside can become flying missiles during hurricanes.
  • Tornadoes can accompany land falling tropical cyclones. These tornadoes typically occur in rain bands well away from the center of the storm.
  • Dangerous waves produced by a tropical cyclone’s strong winds can pose a significant hazard to coastal residents and mariners. These waves can cause deadly rip currents, significant beach erosion, and damage to structures along the coastline, even when the storm is more than 1,000 miles offshore.

When a hurricane threatens your community, be prepared to evacuate if you live in a storm surge risk area. Allow enough time to pack and inform friends and family if you need to leave your home.

  • Secure your home: Cover all of your home’s windows. Permanent storm shutters offer the best protection for windows. A second option is to board up windows with 5/8 inch exterior grade or marine plywood, built to fit, and ready to install. Buy supplies before the hurricane season rather than waiting for the pre-storm rush.
  • Stayed tuned in: Check the websites of your local National Weather Service office and local government/emergency management office. Find out what type of emergencies could occur and how you should respond. Listen to NOAA Weather Radio or other radio or TV stations for the latest storm news.
  • Follow instructions issued by local officials. Leave immediately if ordered!
  • If NOT ordered to evacuate:
    • Take refuge in a small interior room, closet, or hallway on the lowest level during the storm. Put as many walls between you and the outside as you can.
    • Stay away from windows, skylights, and glass doors.
    • If the eye of the storm passes over your area, there will be a short period of calm, but at the other side of the eye, the wind speed rapidly increases to hurricane force winds coming from the opposite direction.

Geostationary Lightning Mapper (GLM)

On November 19, 2016 the GOES-16 satellite was successfully launched and on January 15, 2017 relayed its first image back to Earth. Over the next 15 years the GOES-16 satellite will send images back to earth every 30 seconds. With spring fast approaching, one of the new instruments aboard the satellite will give National Weather Service (NWS) meteorologists a powerful tool for monitoring and forecasting severe weather.

The Geostationary Lightning Mapper (GLM) is the first operational lightning imager ever placed into geostationary orbit. The GLM will enable scientists to have continuous coverage of total lightning activity. Lightning is one of the top three causes of weather related death and injury in the United States each year. Additionally, one of the key indicators of a strengthening thunderstorm on the cusp of producing a tornado is a significant increase in lightning activity several minutes before a tornado touches down. By combining the new GLM observations with existing systems like Doppler radar, forecasters may be able to issue a tornado warning quicker giving those in the storm’s path extra time to prepare and take shelter.

The benefits of the GOES 16 satellite and its GLM device extend beyond better tornado forecasts. Beginning this year, NWS forecasters will be able to:

  • Issue improved local thunderstorm forecasts and warnings of impending lightning strike hazards.
  • Issue more timely warnings for severe weather hazards such as hail, flooding and strong winds
  • Provide better support for aviation safety and efficiency
  • Issue more accurate quantitative precipitation estimates for hydrology, water resources, agriculture, weather forecasting, and climatology
  • Issue better tropical cyclone forecasts.
  • Provide new observations for atmospheric chemistry and improve air quality forecasts.

Although the GOES 16 is still officially undergoing post-launch testing for the first year, the satellite is already hard at work, generating images and perspectives on our weather that we’ve never seen before. You can observe the action in real time too! Follow GOES R on twitter for daily images and updates. And for information on all of the cool things GOES R will be capable of, from space weather forecasts to improved climate change monitoring, be sure to visit the NOAA GOES R information page.