Spring has made a late arrival here in North Central Texas, but Old Man Winter still thrives in other parts of the United States. With the arrival of warmer weather, all the weeds and other plants loaded with allergens start spreading their cheer around us! Folks who have allergies are not looking forward to the misery associated with them.
It’s also the time to plant gardens, mow the yard, and clean up and fix up what the cold weather left behind. As you prepare to start your seasonal yard work, stock up on face masks, goggles, gloves, sunscreen, and plenty of allergy medicine! Be sure your power equipment is in good shape, as it usually needs an annual checkup to be sure everything is running as it should.
There is so much to look forward to during spring and summer: baseball, swimming, outings, summer camps, and hopefully, being with family more. Kids are anxiously awaiting summer break from school, so this means we need to be careful when driving down neighborhood streets.
Tornadoes and severe thunderstorms are also a part of spring that we would rather not have to deal with. So far, there have been fewer tornadoes for this time of the year than usual. But, as it warms up, conditions will make the atmosphere right for twisters.
Be sure that you have a plan, just in case you must leave your home in the event of a severe thunderstorm, or worse, tornado. Every member of the family should know where to meet. A care kit should be packed with enough water for at least three days, non-perishable food, medicines, pet food, flashlight, blankets, and other supplies. Keep your cell phone charged at all times, just in case.
Information from The Weather Channel shows that even as we push deeper into the heart of spring tornado season, 2014 has so far completely spared Americans the agony and grief of tornado-related deaths. The year’s long early safe streak has put 2014 in rare territory, historically. The modern era of tornado records began in 1950 with the advent of the storm database maintained by NOAA’s Storm Prediction Center. This year has now gone on longer than any other calendar year in that era without a tornado fatality.
Another recent year’s long quiet streak ended rather violently when this April 20th marked the 10th anniversary of 2004’s first killer tornado, also an F3 in Illinois. Eight people died on April 20, 2004 when a twister smashed into Utica, Ill., causing a tavern to collapse.
Even including what are likely incomplete historical records from the mid 19th to early 20th centuries, 2014 already ranks among the top 10 years with the longest fatality-free start. It’s possible that some of those older years in the record had undocumented tornado deaths, which would move 2014 even higher in the rankings if we had perfect knowledge of what happened back then.
With no tornadoes reported Monday, we now have to go back 99 years to find a calendar year when the first documented tornado death came later in the year – that was 1915, when the first recorded death came on May 5.
We are thankful that so far that we have not had any deaths as the result of tornadoes. Let’s hope that 2014 will continue to be a low record for killer storms. Be prepared by listening for important warnings from your local television stations, NOAA, and the Weather Channel.
Source: The Weather Channel