Tornado Quest Top Ten Science Links For April 20 – 27, 2019

Greetings to everyone! I hope that the spring, or autumn, weather that you’re having is to your liking. Here in North America, we’ve had quite an active April with bouts of winter weather mixed with severe weather episodes. The peak of severe thunderstorm and tornado activity is on our doorstep, so I’ve included a comprehensive list of infographics and links to help you stay prepared and informed. As usual, there are many other topics that made big news this week, so let’s get started.

  1. In spite of any negative press as of late regarding recycling, it’s never a waste of time and has long-term benefits.
  2. The USA has made great strides in air quality in recent decades. In spite of that, we have a long, long way to go. If our current air quality issues are ignored at the expense of our children, we’ll have a public health crisis on our hands of major proportions.
  3. Are we doing enough to fight climate change? The best answer to that is to do as much as you can.
  4. The financial aspects of climate change are the proverbial elephant in the room. “Climate “Tipping Points” Could Add Trillions to the Costs of Warming.”
  5. Mental health issues, including PTSD, are quite common after natural disasters. This story takes a look at residents of the USA’s Virgin Islands and their mental health struggles after two major hurricanes ravaged the region.
  6. Coastal flooding, beach erosion, and effects on sea level ice are important factors in this read. “Extremely fast winds and high waves are now happening more often.”
  7. In case you missed it, here’s an excellent essay by Dr. Marshall Shepherd on the problematic challenge of people depending on tornado warning sirens. If you think that sirens will save your life, think again.
  8. The Storm Prediction Center (SPC) in Norman, Oklahoma is like no other weather forecasting office in the world. With state of the art technology and some of the top-notch atmospheric scientists on staff, they do an astoundingly accurate job of forecasting severe weather and issuing the appropriate watches. Here’s an excellent “behind-the-scenes” look at the SPC that few people ever get to see.
  9. Speaking of the Storm Prediction Center, here’s a fascinating read from U.S. Tornadoes on a detailed examination of a decade worth of tornado occurrence patterns.
  10. Last but not least, here’s a look at the Oklahoma Mesonet on it’s 25th birthday. No where else on earth does such a inimitable weather network exist.


Here are some links and infographics that will provide a starting point for gathering online severe weather information. I hope you find plentiful information here that will help you become better prepared as we navigate one of the most volatile climactic seasons on our planet.

Testing your NOAA weather year round is one of the best ways to stay informed on weather conditions for your area regardless of the season. Many National Weather Service offices conduct weekly tests. It’s also a good idea to replace the batteries in your NOAA weather radio when you change batteries in your smoke/carbon monoxide detectors.

Infographic courtesy NOAA/NWS

When severe weather is forecast, it is assigned a risk category. Hazards exist in all categories, hence it’s important to be aware of all of them. Note: tornadoes can and do occur even in Marginal Risk areas…and a Slight Risk does not mean that storms will be “slightly” severe.

Infographic courtesy NOAA/NWS

After thunderstorms form, they are carefully observed with Doppler Radar. This infographic explains how this amazing technology works and how its progressed over the years.

Infographic courtesy NOAA/NWS/SPC

When severe weather is anticipated, a Severe Thunderstorm or Tornado Watch will be issued. It’s very important to know the difference between a Watch and a Warning.

Infographic courtesy NWS Amarillo Texas

If a TORNADO WARNING is issued, it means you need to take cover immediately. Where you take cover can sometimes be a life-or-death situation.

Infographic courtesy NOAA/NWS

If a TORNADO WARNING is issued and you are in the warned area, there are good options and bad options for taking shelter. The choice can sometimes be a life-and-death decision. Bad options have killed countless people in recent years.

Infographic courtesy NOAA/NWS

Here are more links that will help you prepare and stay informed during the severe weather season.

National Weather Service Homepage

Storm Prediction Center

National Weather Service Weather Prediction Center

NOAA Weather Radio

Interactive NOAA Weather Radio Coverage Map

Sky Watcher Cloud Chart: An excellent 2 page PDF file from NOAA and NASA on cloud types and and information on how clouds form.

Tornadoes, Lightning, & Thunderstorms: Nature’s Most Violent Storms (PDF file)

Tornado Safety Rules from the Storm Prediction Center

Highway Overpasses As Tornado Shelters (Slide Presentation)

The Online Tornado FAQ

Facts About Derechos

American Red Cross Severe Weather Safety Information

Flash Flooding: Turn Around, Don’t Drown

Preparing Your Pets For Disasters And Emergencies Basic Disaster Supply Kit Info

This excellent Emergency Kit checklist from the American Red Cross is very helpful in assisting you while you compile items for your kit. A kit like this should be available year round…there are many winter weather scenarios where the same items will come in handy.

Infographic courtesy American Red Cross

Please keep in mind that ONLY your local National Weather Service office, NOAA Weather Radio, or reliable broadcast media are the BEST sources of important, timely, and potentially life-saving weather information, watches, and warnings! None of the links on this page should be used for life-&-death decisions or the protection of property!

That’s a wrap for this post! To my new followers, I’d like to extend a very warm “Welcome” and thank you for being a part of the fun. For my long-time followers, here’s a sincere “Thank You!” I appreciate all of the support and kind words!


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