Lightning Season

Last week was “Lightning Safety Week,” according to FEMA.  Visit the NOAA page here http://www.lightningsafety.noaa.gov/ to learn more about lightning and how to reduce the risk for yourself and those around you of being struck or injured by lightning.  In an average year (which this one is not, due to the recent catastrophic tornado incidents), more people are killed by lightning than by tornadoes or hurricanes.  I didn’t realize that many more people actually survive lightning strikes, then live with severe disabilities for the remainder of their lives.  This information can be important to us at work and at home, and for our library patrons who may be in our space during storms.

Storm Prediction Center

Tornadoes are wreaking havoc across the continental U. S. this month, even in states not usually considered to be at high risk, such as Virginia.  The jury appears to be still out on why–global warming?  Better detection technology and reporting?  Probably some of both.  Here’s an excellent site provided by NOAA’s National Weather Service (NWS)–their Storm Prediction Center:  http://www.spc.noaa.gov/.  On the site, severe weather warnings are available from the link above the map.  If you don’t have a weather radio to give you alerts about approaching storms, you can keep an eye on the situation nationally or in your locality via this NWS site.

Major Winter Storm

A major winter storm will be impacting libraries over the next two days from Texas to Maine. Currently, some academic health sciences libraries have closed in northern Texas, Oklahoma, and Kansas. Other closings are anticipated as the storm moves northeastward. You can keep track of closing announcements by following NEPRTimes on the left side of the Toolkit.

Map credit: accuweather.com

A Snowy Winter

The winter weather continues to close libraries along the east coast. On Monday and Tuesday, many libraries closed in Georgia, Alabama, Kentucky, South Carolina, Mississippi, and North Carolina. Today, many libraries are closed in New York, Pennsylvania, Massachusetts, Rhode Island, New Hampshire, and Connecticut. You can follow many of the closings on the left column of the Toolkit in NEPRTimes, which retweets library closing announcements picked up on Twitter. What is the extent of the snowfall? Click on this map from NOAA:

Service in the Storm

The University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences Library has their “Inclement Weather” page up on their website today, due to the winter weather sweeping across the South.  Check it out here:  http://www.library.uams.edu/inclement-weather.aspx.   The page is a great example of how a library can be closed, yet still interact with its patrons and continue to provide the services they need.  Note the variety of services that are still available, from self-service options like their 24 hour study spaces and Interlibrary Loan to direct research help by a librarian via email, and updates via FaceBook and Twitter. 

Enter Winter

If you’re trapped in your car during a blizzard, what can you do to alert first responders that you need help?  The Federal Emergency Agency (FEMA) reminds us that there are many things we can do to be prepared for severe winter weather, from flooding to blizzards.  See their “Winter Storms and Extreme Cold” page at  http://www.fema.gov/hazard/winter/index.shtm to become familiar with terminology and some specific ways to stay safe in the cold.  The answer to the above question:  at night, turn on the inside light of your car so rescuers can see you.