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Posted at 11:00 AM ET, 04/10/2009

Are You Prepared for Severe Weather?

By Ann Posegate

Wx and the City

* Showers on the Way? Full Forecast | Grading Our Winter Outlook *

A tornado touches down seven miles south of Anadarko, OK, on May 3, 1999. Courtesy NOAA.

It's that time of year again. Spring is peak tornado season in the United States...and severe thunderstorms and hurricanes are not far behind. Since February, states throughout the country have been observing "Severe Weather Awareness Week" and similar events to better prepare citizens for severe weather and its impacts.

Although tornadoes are infrequent in the metro area, they happen. There have been eight tornadoes reported in the District since records began, but hundreds in Maryland and Virginia (view statistics for the region).

Keep reading for more on severe weather that has struck the area in the past, and to participate in our severe weather readiness poll questions...

Just last year, on April 20, an EF-0 tornado touched down in Charles County and an EF-1 tornado hit Prince George's County during a string of severe thunderstorms that also brought flooding to the region. On April 28, 2008, an EF-3 tornado was reported in Suffolk, Va. -- one of eight tornadoes confirmed in the state that day.

I've always found it easier to prepare ahead of time (tucking away a few extra gallons of water, canned soup and batteries, reading up on severe weather safety, having a NOAA weather radio handy) rather than be stuck in a natural disaster or emergency with few resources and no idea what to do. Though, I admit I've become a bit lax since living and working in the District, where I'm never far from a hospital, convenience store or Internet connection.

Earlier this week, I tested my Readiness Quotient (RQ) and scored only 5 out of 10! I couldn't believe it, as I consider myself a severe weather safety guru...I'll have to work on that.

Do you think Washington area residents are prepared for severe weather? Would the average person working downtown on a stormy day know what to do if a tornado warning were issued? Or would he or she even realize it was issued in the first place? Are the city and region effective in warning residents of severe weather threats and how to prepare ahead of time? How could they improve?

Here's an informal survey to find out how many of you are "storm ready."

How ready are you? Test your own RQ. Let us know how you fare -- and how you prepare -- with your comments below.

Severe Weather Safety | Make an Emergency Plan | Get an Emergency Supply Kit | | Community and State Information | American Red Cross of the National Capital Area

By Ann Posegate  | April 10, 2009; 11:00 AM ET
Categories:  Posegate, Wx and the City  
Save & Share:  Send E-mail   Facebook   Twitter   Digg   Yahoo Buzz   StumbleUpon   Technorati   Google Buzz   Previous: Forecast: Waiting on Showers, Thunder?
Next: PM Update: Showery Start to Weekend


WGN is warning that global warming could reduce yields in the Corn Belt, particularly Iowa. However my guess is that the Corn Belt moves north into Wisconsin, Minnesota and the Red River Valley of the North [currently a durum wheat belt/spring wheat area when not flooded]. Winter wheat would tend to move north into Nebraska and Iowa unless the weather gets too dry.

Severe weather hit Arkansas hard last night. This is the line now moving through Tennessee.

Posted by: Bombo47jea | April 10, 2009 1:27 PM | Report abuse

About 20 years ago--don't have the exact date--there was a microburst in Rock Creek park next to Holly St NW, all too close to the house I was living in then. Every oak tree on the street was pushed over onto the houses, and the power lines were down for a week. Fortunately it was June so we were able to survive fairly well without heat or air conditioning. No refrigeration, of course, but the dry ice Pepco gave us did help a bit. Technically not a tornado, but the aftermath was the same. There are still signs of it in the park if you know where to look.

Posted by: RAB2 | April 10, 2009 1:38 PM | Report abuse

Tom Skilling also reports that it's raw in Chicago with a stiff NE wind and gusts as high as 39 mph. Temperatures in that area are in the 30's with most rain to the south of Chicago.

Posted by: Bombo47jea | April 10, 2009 1:38 PM | Report abuse

Way to sync up with the first High Risk of the season!

Posted by: Brian-CapitalWeatherGang | April 10, 2009 3:26 PM | Report abuse

Posted by: SteveT-CapitalWeatherGang | April 10, 2009 5:48 PM | Report abuse

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