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Old 04-10-2018, 06:11 AM   #1
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Tornadoes / High Winds

Hello everyone,

We will be traveling through tornado prone areas from May to June.

What is the best way to stay informed of tornado / wind warnings while on the road?

Tony
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Old 04-10-2018, 06:15 AM   #2
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If you have a smart phone, go to Weather Underground Severe Weather. When traveling through tornado prone areas I check this site every morning to see if anything other than the coffee is brewing. There is also an app named “windy.” It will send you notifications.
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Old 04-10-2018, 06:22 AM   #3
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Thank you Carl.

We are low tech by choice and do not have a smart phone.

Any other suggestions?

Tony
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Old 04-10-2018, 06:28 AM   #4
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You can get one of those Weather Alert radios that tune in the National Weather Service. If you have power (120 or 12 volt) a lot of them will have an Alert mode where if the NWS issues a warning or watch in your area they will make a racket and come on with the alert and forecast.
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Old 04-10-2018, 06:45 AM   #5
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Thank you Alex.

Excellent idea.

Tony
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Old 04-10-2018, 07:16 AM   #6
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My wife has some sort of warning system on her phone.
If bad weather is predicted she get a visual and audio signal
I just go to Weather Underground each morning much like CPW
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Old 04-10-2018, 07:54 AM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Alex Adams View Post
You can get one of those Weather Alert radios that tune in the National Weather Service. If you have power (120 or 12 volt) a lot of them will have an Alert mode where if the NWS issues a warning or watch in your area they will make a racket and come on with the alert and forecast.
Just wondering Alex if you have experienced ďdead zonesĒ in NWS broadcast zones. I live north of Tampa and there is a NWS transmitter both north and south of me, but I am unable to receive either. It would be a bit concerning to hit a broadcast dead zone when traveling across Tornado Alley in the spring.
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Old 04-10-2018, 08:15 AM   #8
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I have not encountered that yet. Unfortunately my old radio broke and I haven't bought a replacement yet. The ones I buy have AM/FM as well so I suppose if the NWS isn't working you could listen to the local radio stations assuming they still do local weather and such (a lot of them have been bought and automated by big conglomerates).
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Old 04-10-2018, 08:21 AM   #9
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I like the "My Radar" app for smart phone and/or tablet.

After going through Illinois a few years ago during a tornado outbreak, and me NOT knowing where anything was (INCLUDING the tornados) I want to be able to SEE where they are...but NOT up close and personal.

Doesn't help me in the least to know that there's a tornado moving NNE out of Wherever into Whatever county if I don't know where EITHER of those places are, nor where *I* am in relationship to them!

And if it's storming and you see people who've abandoned their cars and are huddled under a bridge...do NOT join them!

Mon
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Old 04-10-2018, 08:36 AM   #10
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There are a few issues with using weather alert radios that eventually technology will help solve to some extent. Reception problems is one of course. Also (for the ones I have seen) when in alert standby mode the radio is basically on, so it drains internal batteries almost as fast as if you were listening to it. But the biggest issue, in my experience, is that the alerts have been so broad in nature and geographic region to be about useless to me. To deal with this, there is newer technology that will make the alerts that you receive more specific.
Many newer or more sophisticated alerting receivers can detect, decode and react to a digital signal called Specific Area Message Encoding (SAME), which allows users to program their radios to receive alerts only for specific geographical areas of interest and concern, rather than for an entire broadcast area. (Source).
The problem with SAME is that you have to enter a code that identifies your specific geographic area and if you are traveling, that will change every few miles so SAME is only good for stationary radios.

If I have cell service, the best option I have found for tornado warnings is the Emergency Alerts on my phone. This is not an add-in app but but of the Android OS. See this FAQ. I don't know if it is on Apple products also since I can't stand Apple stuff and will not use it. And of course if in Hawaii, fake missile alerts might be received also

There are also a number of apps for both Android and iOS that will send alerts, and allow enough specificity and customization to be useful. For example, for Apple iOS..

StormWatch+ provides push notifications for a variety of weather hazards to your iPhone/iPad. Combining storm-based warnings issued by the NWS and your precise GPS-derived location, StormWatch+ will send instant alerts of impending hazardous weather, but only if the locations you define are directly threatened.
(Source)
I think the best option is to have smartphone alert functionality that will not bother you with a lot of unneeded alerts at 3 am, and a battery operated Weather Alert radio for when you are out of cell range.

But perhaps the biggest issue to what to do if you get a tornado warning. It seems that few campgrounds have tornado shelters or a plan to protect campers. It would not hurt to ask the staff what they recomend. In many cases the best option might be to hunker down in the shower stall of the bath house or wherever a building was strongest such as a stairwell. It could be a good way to make a lot of friends too, what with ten people in a single shower stall
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Old 04-10-2018, 08:44 AM   #11
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There are 2 different levels of capability of the NWS Alert radios these days too.

All of them are simply Radio Receivers that can tune the broadcast frequencies of the NWS.

There are 7 channels that are designed to overlap coverage and provide it for most of the country but they are like any other Radio and will not work everywhere the same way.
Location and Antenna and even the conditions you are trying to have them tell you about determine how well they will receive.

The newer units feature a location based alert system called SAME (Specific Area Message Encoding)where you enter a SAME location code idiotically not based on your Zip Code you want alerts for into the radio and it will only alert for that specific area instead of you getting the entire region alert with the general radio units.
So you do have to have a list of the SAME codes to program the radio if you want this feature.
http://weatherradios.com/same-codes

I think you have to decide which will work best for you while traveling really but the SAME units will do either or both usually too.

Everyone else has suggested a Smart Phone and for good reason clearly,they are not called smart for nothing!

The most popular apps running on my phone as I drive across the country track my weather continuously as I move and I need do nothing to see current conditions wherever I am at all times.

This is a pretty handy feature for sure.
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Old 04-10-2018, 08:47 AM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by TonyJanet View Post
Hello everyone,

We will be traveling through tornado prone areas from May to June.

What is the best way to stay informed of tornado / wind warnings while on the road?

Tony
Having lived in "tornado prone areas" all my life, my advice is to check the weather on your phone daily for the purpose of planning activities, like biking or hiking on sunny days and museums, malls or other indoor activities on rainy days.
Driving with headwinds can effect mileage and driving fatigue, so that's another reason to check the weather.
Tornadoes are rare enough to practically drop off the list of serious threats and N.O.A.A. is watching, so don't worry.
There are storm chasers who are frustrated for whole seasons just trying to get near a tornado.
Hail damage is a much greater threat when thunderstorm cells get strong, but not enough to inspire much concern.
You can get a good weather radio but I'm sure there's an APP for that!

I love a good thunderstorm with lightning while playing Wagner on the stereo!

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Old 04-10-2018, 09:27 AM   #13
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We've been lots of places without cell service but never anywhere where we couldn't receive NOAA radio though I'm sure such places exist. Along with the radio it's good to have an atlas with counties listed. NOAA often refers to counties when describing weather events.
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Old 04-10-2018, 10:02 AM   #14
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We were in Branson one night when someone knocked on the door. I groggily heard mumbled voices when my husband answered the door. After he closed it, I heard him rustling around and keys jangling. I asked what was going on. He said, ďThereís a tornado warning, and Iím supposed to go to the shower building.Ē
????!!!!!
Iím answering the door from now on.

P.S. We BOTH went, and it was actually the most fun Iíve ever had at 3AM.
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Old 04-10-2018, 10:39 AM   #15
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NWS alarms are tested Wednesdays between 10:00 and 12:00 local time.
NOAA Weather Radio

General information:
NOAA Weather Radio
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Old 04-10-2018, 10:47 AM   #16
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There are some very helpful replies, yet I am surprised how many ignore post 3 above where the original poster said they are low tech by choice and do not have a smart phone. Don't get me wrong, the generous nature of posters here is appreciated.

So while those replies will assist a broader audience of readers, they may not help someone without a smart phone.

I have spent many decades in mid west tornado country. They have made it easy.

A good old AM radio is all you need. All broadcast stations are required by the FCC to participate in The Emergency Alert System, formerly The Emergency Broadcast System.
Some may recall the original Conelrad [Control of Electromagnetic Radiation].

Other systems, including cable TV, automatically monitor designated designated radio stations for alert signal tones.

Monitoring a 50,000 watt AM station should work best. Any station will work.

More:
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Emerge...n_requirements
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Old 04-10-2018, 11:07 AM   #17
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ruth C. View Post
We were in Branson one night when someone knocked on the door. I groggily heard mumbled voices when my husband answered the door. After he closed it, I heard him rustling around and keys jangling. I asked what was going on. He said, ďThereís a tornado warning, and Iím supposed to go to the shower building.Ē
????!!!!!
Iím answering the door from now on.

P.S. We BOTH went, and it was actually the most fun Iíve ever had at 3AM.
Once at Shipshewana they had a tornado warning while we were there, everyone one was warned to go to the shower house.
We just went to sleep in the safest place available...our Scamp13.
Next morning we awoke to a sunny day, and for some reason we were not in Kansas!
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Old 04-10-2018, 11:17 AM   #18
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Originally Posted by Tom 72 View Post
I have spent many decades in mid west tornado country. They have made it easy.

A good old AM radio is all you need.
I was thinking more for when I am sleeping. My home weather radio wakes me up when it goes off and I'm a very heavy sleeper.
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Old 04-10-2018, 11:19 AM   #19
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Tom,

Thank you for the info about about AM radio alerts.

Very helpful.

Tony
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Old 04-10-2018, 11:29 AM   #20
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Agree that you choose not to have a smart phone, then use a radio tuned to weather station. Or ask someone with a smart phone for the weather forecast. And Ranger stations can sometimes give you information as well.
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