Being weather aware while traveling is something most people do not think about. March 1st is the beginning of the metrological
Spring. In the United States, this means the chance of severe weather increases. This shows the importance of staying water aware while we travel.
Let’s take a recent example of why this is important. March 2md and 3rd 2020 10 tornadoes touched down across the state of Tennessee, with 7 of these tornadoes affecting Middle Tennessee. The two strongest and most damaging tornadoes included an EF-3 tornado that tracked over 60 miles across the Nashville metro area. All of these tornadoes were moving at extremely fast at speeds of around 60-70 mph! The worst of these tornadoes touched down across Middle Tennessee during the early morning hours of March 3, 2020. These storms resulted in widespread damage and numerous injuries and fatalities.
Imagine you were asleep in your hotel and woke up to the sound of a freight train in the parking lot and then the windows blow in. Would it not be better to be woken up by an alert on your phone or by a call from the desk?
How do we stay weather aware while traveling?
The simplest is you the weather app that comes on your phone of choice. The problem with most of these pre-installed apps is they really just give you what the forecast model says the weather is going to be. There is very little if any human thought or analysis out into this. Often the notification of severe weather also lags.
In my opinion, the best app for severe weather notifications is Weather Radio from Weather Ops. This app allows you to simply turn location service on. The application will set off an alert tone whenever you are in a warned area. Weather Radio uses your location to only alert you if you are in a polygon warning issued by the National Weather Service. This really prevents you from being over warned.
Weather Radio is US$4.99 in both the Apple App Store and Google Play store.
Of course, there are the tried and true methods, local TV, and Radio. It is always good to tune in to the local media. That is the best source for local knowledge of the weather situation.
For day to day weather, the Weather Channel App is good. It provides good enough forecast even thou it is not run by the Weather Channel anymore. IBM bought weather.com and app a few years ago. And there AI/Machine Learning project “Watson” does an OK job with day to day weather, but as far as I know, no human provides analysis and input to that forecast.
What about travel in an RV or if I am hiking?
For those situations, I recommend an NOAA All-Hazards Weather Radio. These are inexpensive and a great way to get true life-saving weather information quickly. These radios come in many forms. From small battery-powered that can be carried while hiking o a unit that plugs in and is perfect for the home or RV.
Links to weather resources
National Weather Service Storm Prediction Center (Issues all WATCHES and daily severe weather forecast)
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