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.
The severe winter storm that affected (and still affecting) the Midwest, South, Southeast, Mid-Atlantic, and Northeast, gave libraries in these regions a great opportunity to activate their service continuity plans. If you don’t have a plan, this is a good time to prepare for the next major service disruption. (Resources to help you can be found on our Writing Your Disaster Plan page.) If you did have a plan, how did it go? Would you change anything? If so, this is a good time to make those changes.
Here is a NOAA satellite view of the winter storm. Note the similarities of a hurricane. (Click on image to enlarge.)
It’s good to be “on the same page” with an organization like Heritage Preservation! Check out their “Do One Thing” initiative for May Day (May 1) this year. They encourage all libraries and cultural institutions to take some of the same actions the NN/LM is recommending to its members in its “10-Step Approach to Service Continuity,” such as prioritizing collections for rescue, establishing relationships with “buddy” institutions, etc. They also mention that their Disaster Wheel and accompanying Field Guide are on sale at a special price for May Day. These materials have been highly recommended to NN/LM members throughout the training sessions in emergency preparedness and response that have been offered over the past year and a half.
The Heritage site also notes that even though hurricane “season” doesn’t start until June 1, our continent is already experiencing severe weather and flooding, noting that a disaster can happen at any time and in any place. If you visit their site, you might enjoy looking around a bit while you are there. Heritage Preservation (a partner with FEMA) is an excellent resource for all things preservation and recovery for collections. Where the NN/LM emergency preparedness initiative complements Heritage is its focus on service continuity to patrons in terms of providing health related information.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention have an excellent web site with a wealth of health and safety-related information on a broad range of topics and for many audience types. They have redesigned and reorganized, including more images, and the navigation features lend themselves well to helping users find information quickly. We can benefit particularly from their Emergency Preparedness and Response pages, and today are focusing on their Natural Disasters and Severe Weather subsite. For each event, they have gathered excellent information, some of which they have written, and some that links to other, related sites. Check out the “Earthquake” page, which warns that between 2008 and 2035, seismologists predict a 97 percent chance of a major quake in the New Madrid seismic zone (central US: Tennessee, Kentucky, Arkansas, Missouri).