Archive for the 'Weather' Category

Sever Weather Preparedness Week

This week is Sever Weather Preparedness Week in Illinois and Indiana. I know many Ham radio operators use this week to get their radios working for when the first storm hits. Many weather spotters get out to training classes (mine is actually in two weeks). I hope that most families will do something, even if it’s going out a buying a NOAA Weather Radio or buying some extra batteries and flash lights for when the power gets knocked out. You never know when the weather might effect you. Last year, in my county, we got hit by both a micro burst and a tornado. Many of them effected some of the same people, as they hit only a few towns away from each other. Near my work (the next county over) another micro burst hit during yet another storm. That one knocked down power lines for nearly an mile and a half down a major road. The worst part is, I’m hearing from many weather experts that this year has the potential to be even worse than last. The norther Illinois/souther Wisconsin area has already seen their first sever weather of the year (early January). Emergencies always remind my of my Boy Scout days, “Always be prepared.”

1,2,3,4…6 AND 7???

Check out this from the National Weather Service.

Statewide Tornado Drills Tuesday March 4 and Wednesday March 6

Tuesday March 4 at 1000 AM CST a test tornado warning will be issued for all Illinois counties. Wednesday March 7 at 937 AM CST (1037 AM EST) a test tornado warning will be issued for all Indiana Counties. A second Indiana test will occur at 607 PM CST (707 PM EST). Many location in Illinois will also test sirens on Tuesday morning.

Notice in the heading, it’s “Tuesday March 4 and Wednesday March 6,” skipping the 5th are we? Then in the text, Wednesday becomes the 7th, so now we are skipping two days?? I guess we are making up for Leap year this year.

Go Kits

As I had stated in a previous post, the month of August is National Preparedness month and I planed on writing quite a few posts on the subject. I haven’t had time to write much, though. Any ways, I digress.

What would you and your family do in the event of a serious emergency. Imagine that your town was hit by a (fill in the appropriate natural disaster for your area); what would you do? Do you have the necessary supplies to survive and a way to get the information you need? The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) suggests that you have all the necessary supplies to survive for 3 days in a “Go Kit.” But what would you put in a Go Kit you ask? Essentials!

Food and Water

You should have enough food and water for 3 days. When packing food, remember that you have to be able to open and cook what you pack. I suggest going to a sporting goods store and purchasing a backpacking propane stove, small can opener, and freeze dried food. You should also have 1 gallon of water per person per day. So, a husband, wife and child should have 9 gallons of water. This is enough water form drinking, preparing food, and cleaning, although should be used sparingly. If you are in an extremely warm area, more water should be added to your go kit. Also, don’t forget to pack a small pot and utensils. Nothings worse then having food and no fork or spoon!!


Make sure you pack cloths in your go kit, or have some ready at all times. To keep your kit lighter, I suggest packing cloths in backpacks and keeping the backpack in your closet. In the event that you have to evacuate, you can through the backpack on, and then have both hands to grab your go kit or small children. You should also make sure that the cloths in the bag are season appropriate. Yes, I know. This means you have to CHANGE the cloths in the bag. Nothings worse that having to grab it in the winter, leave your house in a panic, and then find out all you have in the bag is shorts and tank tops. A pair of sturdy shoes you can walk a long distance in is a good idea to have, as well. When your packing your bag, think about what you would pack on a trip. Don’t forget things like sock and underwear.


Don’t spend money on some of this stuff. Remember, this would be used in a major emergency. Pack your old tooth brush when you go to retire it. Get travel sized soap and tooth paste. My big suggestion here is waterless shampoo. You can find this at most drugstores. It’s not the best thing to use, but it beats using all of your water to wash your hair!! Also, pack some sort of hand sanitizer. You should also have a first-aid kit with enough supplies for three days. If you get banged up in a tornado and have a bad cut or burn, you will need to be able to change the dressing on it.


If I haven’t stressed this enough during the post, the goal here is to survive self sufficiently for three days. Pack tools that you my need to build a shelter or get a fire going. A hatchet is a necessity. You can use it to cut wood or use it as a hammer. A multi-tool comes in handy as well. I recommend either a Gerber or Letherman, as both of them stand up well with a lot of use. Depending on where you live, a camp shovel may be nice to have as well. If you live in an urban area, though, it probably won’t help too much. Pack what you think you may need, but don’t go overboard. Tools get heavy, and you my have to carry your go kit with you for quite a ways.

Other Essentials
No, not your notebook or Ipod. I’m talking about other things you need to survive. Medication that you have to take daily is a big one that is often over looked. If it is a prescription medication, tell your doctor that you would like a few days or a weeks worth to pack in your go kit. Most will write you the small amount. Make sure you rotate it with your normal medication, though, so it doesn’t expire. People with young children should pack dippers, wipes, and formula.

For more information, you can check you which is run by FEMA. What would you pack that I might have forgotten? What other tips might you have? People who have back packed before should have an easy time with this, as you need to pack the essentials, but keep it light. I also hope none of you that read this will ever need to use it, but don’t count on it never happening to you. Think like the Boy Scouts and “Always be Prepared.”


I have to apologize to everyone for not posting in a while. I have been way too busy the past few weeks and went camping this weekend.

Camping was great, though. We went with my wife’s father and his wife’s family. While we were sleeping though, a bad thunderstorm came through and woke every one. My father-in-law had decided not to put his rain fly on his tent. No sooner did the rain start then we started hearing him, his wife, and his step-son running around the tent in mass confusion, trying to get their rain fly up at 3 in the morning in a torrential down. I checked the National Weather Service web site from my cell phone, and found out that there were 60 MPH winds during the storm.

My Father-in-law being caught in the rain reminded me of when I was in scouts and my troop had to set up camp in the poring rain. We finally got the tents set up and went to bed. In the middle of the night, the tent started to flood and then collapsed on 6 young scouts!!

I was wondering what was the worst any one has ever been stuck out in the rain? Leave it in the comments. The winner will be sent a state of the art umbrella!! Ok, maybe not, but you will win our respect.

I shouldn’t have gotten out of bed today

I had one of those days where I should have just stayed in bed today. I woke up and felt a little more groggy than normal. That have should have been my first clue. I was on my way to work, driving behind a semi as we went to hit an exit ramp when I realized my brakes weren’t slowing me down at all. I quickly down shifted, and was able to slow down just in time not to rear end the semi. I pushed on to work (as I was almost there). The roads were empty (I start at 4:00 am), so I made sure just to leave plenty of room in front of me. I got about a mile away from work when the stop lights were all out. I got a few blocks closer when the entire street was shut down. I later found out that a microburst had hit the area. Power lines had went down like dominoes for almost a mile. I had to take a detour and ended up being late for work.

On the up side, Nick designed a new header for me. I should have it up shortly (if not later today).

What severe weather?

I came across this article while browsing the news today and can’t believe what this world has come to. I don’t know if this guy knew how much trouble he was raising or not, but because of his little “prank,” who knows how many resources were wasted. I work a part time job with a county Office of Emergency Management. One of the many tasks that we are challenged with is working the National Weather Service, local municipalities,and other counties in the area in order to distribute the best information possible from trained weather spotters and citizens that call in. We will always try to check with other spotters in the area and/or compare what they are saying to the radar. This fits very well with my philosophy on a lot of things; Trust but verify. I hope that can catch this guy and give him the maximum sentence. He or she should also be sued for all the man hours that local and county governments payed out for all the man hours that were wasted with these false reports. This just makes me sick.

EDITED: OK, so the Tribune doesn’t like to have their articles linked to or something, so if you go to, the article is titled Bogus tips vex meteorologists.