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.
Our National Weather Service web site is an incredibly rich place for exploring and locating a variety of climate/weather/safety information. Today I found this page, S.E. US, Gulf of Mexico Weather, while looking for information about Hurricane Paula, which has been threatening the SE US for the past few days. Check out all the radio buttons offered over the top edge of the map to see other views of the area, such as water temperatures, the radar loop, etc. And click on any of the yellow icons on the map to open a window showing the weather and wave conditions at the observation site. You can zoom in by clicking on any locality and you can select the “Cities” button, then click on the city you’re interested in to see local conditions. This looks like a great tool for increasing awareness of possible weather-related emergency preparedness needs.
I found this site by selecting “Marine” under “Forecasts” on the main NWS page, then selecting “Portals.” There are also marine maps there for the Great Lakes as well as the other US coastal areas. Thanks, NWS!