We can get severe weather any time during the year however, during the spring when the cold air remnants of winter clash with the warm air of spring we generally get high winds. Other places get Thunderstorms or Tornadoes and they are not out of the question for our area. Today it is easier than ever to be informed but to get meaningful and concise information you have to pick and choose where you get your weather. Some weather channels feature more non-weather than weather forecasts; others want to give you different forecast models of all the possibilities rather than what they think is coming our way. The only real forecast to rely on is the National Weather Service. So now what is the best way to get the forecast? First, you could make an effort to check the Local Forecast on the National Weather Service website, but this requires that you make an effort and have the ability to check the website. Also while you’ll know what is forecasted you won’t if things change or severe weather is imminent. Therefore, you should find out the best platforms for getting National Weather Service alerts. Probably the most common way and the one thing you will have during most of the day is your smartphone. There are plenty of apps that will forward to you National Weather Service forecasts and alerts however most of them are simply vehicles to show you advertisements. One we like the no-nonsense NWS-NOW app which has no advertising – just the weather. The app is not available in the google app store so you’ll have to go to www.nwsnow.net and use the link there for the free download. It gives you current conditions, severe weather alerts, radar maps, a 7-day forecast, and hourly conditions, and for those that want to learn more about the weather – forecast discussions. One of the best features is that you can set it up to use your phone’s GPS location so where ever you may be you’ll know the weather. Remember as with all applications go to the settings page and turn on the notifications you want and turn off those that you don’t want.
Now if you are like many that have a hardline phone in your home and don’t take your smartphone to bed with you consider purchasing a weather radio for your home. There are many out there at different prices, the one we have experience with is the ones made by Midland such as the model WR120b which costs $35.00 on Amazon. Whatever make or model you select make sure that it has S.A.M.E. (Specific Area Message Encoder) which allows the radio to stay silent until an alert is sent by the National Weather Service. Most good radios will have options such as allowing you to select which alerts you want the radio to play out loud or not. So you can have tornados turned on but wind alerts turned off if you want. When you get your radio don’t forget to add your S.A.M.E. number to the receiver. Our area number is 034009 and can be confirmed here. Additionally, there are other ways you can be alerted of severe weather. An example is a lightning detector which is a small device that can be worn on your belt when you are on the golf course or at the beach. It will detect lightning within 25 miles, counts the lightning strikes, and estimates the distance away the lightning is, along with setting off an audible alarm. The current model of the one that NWOEM provided several to lifeguards and public works is the Acu-Rite 02020 Portable Lightning Detector which costs around $42 on Amazon. There are other makes and models out there with some that are more expensive make sure you compare the features and select the one best for you. Don’t hesitate to have multiple ways you get notified of severe weather. Redundancy assures that you get the alert no matter where you are and what you are doing. If possible always try to get your information from the source as it will be the most up-to-date version of the weather forecast.