Every year we provide tips for surviving severe weather events here in Wisconsin. There is a Tornado and Severe Thunderstorm Awareness Week, A Flood Safety Week, Lightning Safety, Safe Boating Week, and Winter Weather Awareness Week, just to name a few. While researching safety tips for an upcoming presentation, I thought I would look at some other types of disasters that do not normally happen in Northcentral Wisconsin, just for my own knowledge, because I never know what might happen in places where I might travel.
I lived in California for almost a year but I never did feel or experience an earthquake. It must have been one of the quietest earthquake years in California’s history. I didn’t even feel a minor tremor. It is probably a good thing, because I didn’t know how to protect myself in the event of a big quake. I am not going to go through all the different safety and preparedness tips here in the blog, just a couple interesting things I learned. For more in depth information here are a couple of websites I found useful:
Geology.com and National Geographic
One of the more interesting tips was that if you are sleeping when an earthquake happens, you should stay in bed and cover your head with a pillow. Also, if you are cooking, it is reccommended you turn off the stove before seeking safety in your home. I suppose the danger of an electrical or gas fire due to the stove being on is greater than threat posed by delaying your move to get under something sturdy and away from the walls and windows.
When looking at Hurricane safety and preparedness, it seemed fairly simple. Most of the action occurs before a storm arrives. The main safety advice is to just evacuate – have a family disaster plan in place and then be ready to evacuate. Be sure to take your pets as well. Once an area is quarantined by the authorities, they will not let you in no matter what. I have heard second hand of horror stories where people were literally just a few yards from their starving pets but they were not allowed to cross the barricade/check point in order to save them. One piece of advice that I did not find on official hurricane safety sites was to keep an axe in your attic. This is advice I have heard from other people and it is mentioned here. The idea here is that if there is major flooding during or after a hurricane and you are trapped in your house, you can use the axe to chop a hole in your roof so you can get out.
Do any of you have any hurricane or earthquake stories to share? What about any other odd natural disasters that don’t normally occur in Northcentral Wisconsin?
We certainly have not had to deal with many Winter “disasters” this year. The Winter has been pretty tame, but it was not predicted to be that way by some. If you remember back to the Fall, the Farmer’s Almanac and Accuwx were at least two sources that were predicting very harsh Winter conditions across the Midwest, including Wisconsin. I think those forecasts were based mainly on the fact that La Nina was occurring in the Pacific. Last Winter there was a La Nina in the Pacific and it WAS a bad Winter. This year was almost the opposite.
You will recall that even I was predicting a little below normal temps and a little above normal snowfall – mainly due to La Nina. I didn’t go overboard because this Winter’s La Nina was not as strong as last Winter and because I know that La Nina historically has not had as strong an influence on our Winter weather as El Nino. It is true that the last 3 La Nina’s brought colder and snowier winter conditions to Wisconsin, but if you go farther back in history, the correlation is not as clear.
Computer Forecasts for ENSO Trend
So what is La Nina up to now? A moderate La Nina is still occurring but it has shown signs of slight weakening in the past month. Here is the latest monthly diagnostic discussion. The computer models are forecasting a continued weakening over the next couple of months, enough so that it is gone (temps in the ocean would be neutral) around May. I just hope that all of our Winter weather has not been saved-up only to be unleashed upon us in March and April. I wouldn’t mind see some above normal precipitation this Spring (I hate droughts), just as long as it comes as rain and not snow & cold.
Have a fine Friday! Meteorologist Justin Loew.
Posted under Earthquake, ENSO Update, Hurricanes, Natural Disasters, Weather Safety
This post was written by jloew on February 10, 2012