Weather Warnings

This was the Good Question the other night. Are there too many weather warnings? What do you think?

I don’t even know what some of these warnings mean. “The list is impressive. In Minnesota, we see: flash flood warning, flood warning, severe thunderstorm warning, tornado warning, blizzard warning, winter storm warning, lake effect snow warning, high wind warning, freeze warning, hard freeze warning, heavy freezing spray warning and an excessive heat warning.”

What the heck is a “lake effect snow warning” or a “heavy freezing spray warning?”

I don’t necessarily think there are too many warnings but I feel they put warnings on when they really aren’t necessary. I don’t think we need a tornado watch when it just gets dark and rains. I don’t think there needs to be a ” blizzard warning” when we’re only supposed to get a few inches of snow. The cold, yes. If it’s double digits below zero, that should be broadcast but I think just having it on the 6 o’clock news is plenty. I don’t think television needs to break from all shows to tell us that.

The other problem I have with all these warnings is I feel when they’re on so much they lose their impact. I don’t think they mean as much if they’re on all.the.time. Like the time a few years ago when there was a tornado in my backyard (Jason and Jenny!!!!) and I went right on making supper! I think this also puts a lot of “scare” in our kids. So many kids now get scared if it so much as starts raining.

Also, did you ever have so many “late starts” and “snow” or “too cold” to go to school days? I know I never did when I was little and when my kids were young and I worked in Minnetonka, we never had so many closings and out earlies.

So? What say you?

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14 Responses to Weather Warnings

  1. SKL says:

    First, I rarely hear of these “warnings” unless I go look them up based on what I’m seeing with my own eyes. Given that I’m still alive despite having missed so many warnings, I might agree that they are not all necessary. Especially the ones for plain old storms that don’t really do any damage. Yes, I do believe we are getting wussified.

    But I’ll tell you what lake effect snow is, and why it matters. When the “big city” here gets an inch of snow (no big deal in these parts), the “lake effect” can dump up to a couple of feet where my parents live just an hour’s drive east. It happens when it’s still warm enough for the lake water to evaporate and form precipitation, but cold enough up in the sky for it to snow. It can literally shut down the town for many hours, so if you’re a commuter (as many small-town folk are), you want to get your butt home before the snow starts and be prepared to stay put. Bring in the woodpile, charge your generators, etc. Drive your big vehicle (if you must) rather than your little one, and bring a shovel and sleeping bag in your car. Stuff like that.

    • Joy says:

      Once the girls start school you’ll need to listen to know if they have school or not. Schools are a pain in the rear end!

      Thanks for the info. That makes sense but I always wondered.

  2. Just a Mom says:

    Honestly, I have pretty much stopped watching the news all together because of the “Sky is falling” mentality. Our big thing where I live is during Hurricane season. They blow a little storm so out of proportion that when we do actually have a big one nobody takes it seriously.

  3. Nikki says:

    I don’t pay too much attention to all the warning they post on TV. If I know bad weather is near, I’ll turn it on but that’s it. It is hard to tell what’s going on around us because of where we live. We are very protected by trees, so there could be tornado winds and we wouldn’t know. Also, if we have baseball practice or a game, and there’s threat of bad weather I’ll check it out. Like I said, we can go out our front door and it’s peaceful as can be. Get to the field and it’s like a hurricane! Really, all I care about is the tornado warnings.

    Our school district very rarely has “snow days” or late starts. Even when they should, they don’t! I hear of other districts closing, sometimes the ones that surround us, and we still don’t! I don’t get it. lol Obviously, growing up in Sacramento, I never had any kind of school closing due to weather.

  4. Laura says:

    Were you reading my FB from yesterday? Honest to Pete, it’s ridiculous.

    Friday AND Monday both started with Late Starts, and morphed into Snow Days. (we won’t even talk about the Scout Sledding event that was cancelled because there was too much snow) Today, we had a Late Start!! I have no idea why they declared a late start today. None at all. I don’t know what their criteria is, and they refuse to publish it. Sometimes I think that if the Supt wants a day off, he’ll just cancel school. It’s ridiculous. ESPECIALLY since they don’t even start making up days until after the fourth FULL day off of school. And 2-hour delays/late starts/early outs don’t count toward those make-up days, so they can still have 4 LS/EOs, and NOT have to make up a full day of school – hence our regularly scheduled (every two weeks) early out on Wednesday. Yes, our kids are released from school at 1:00 every 2nd and 4th Wednesday. All. Year. Long. For “Teacher Development”. Add those early outs to the early outs for Conferences, the Days Off for holidays and conferences, and then put in snow days, and they’re out of school as much as they’re in. (Can you tell you’ve hit a nerve???)

    As for warnings, I’m done with them. I WAS done with them last year when I was woken at 3AM by my NOAA Weather Radio screaming at me (the nasty scream that means “imminent death”) only to find out that some jackass had hit the AVALANCHE WARNING button. In the middle of Iowa. In July.

    Our Weather Service – based in Davenport, I think, is one of the most namby-pamby offices on the planet. There is a warning for darn near everything, and the reason that I’ve turned off the weather radio. Which, honestly, can be dangerous, since my house is perched on the top of a hill – also known as “tornado bait”. But I just use common sense. Watch the weather, have batteries and water ready all the time, pay attention to the humidity and the pressure (if you try, you can feel it change), and exercise common sense. The only time i really worry is in the middle of the night, when I can’t see.

    • SKL says:

      Ha ha, avalance warning! I woulda laughed my butt off after I got done cussing over being woken up.

      No, more likely I would have slept right through it.

      • Laura says:

        Not only am I “programmed” to wake at the slightest sound of a certain kind – I can sleep through a nuclear war, but if Josh whimpers during a nightmare, I hear it – but this alarm would wake a hibernating bear. AND it’s set across the room, because that’s where I have space for it. So it started screaming, I shot out of bed like I was catapulted, stepped on the dog, tripped on a pillow, and got to the stupid thing to shut it the heck off before Josh heard it and got all Tornado-Phobic. OH, that made me mad. I laughed. The next day. While I was writing a post about it for this blog.

    • SKL says:

      As for school closings – I’ve been sheltered from them so far, because my kids’ school is at a daycare that does not take off just because schools are closed. There may have been one time when they opened late in the years we’ve gone there.

      Next year, I guess I will have to develop a strategy for snow days. If my kids go to the Lutheran school, which is about a 20 minute drive away in good weather, I will need some way of knowing it’s closing, and some Plan B for the kids in case I have a meeting or something.

      I was almost gonna write that I’ll be glad when the kids are 13 and I can legally leave them to their own devices. Then I thought: “13!!” Two 13-year-old girls under one roof. Why did I have to go and think that thought?!

      • Laura says:

        IF you’re lucky, you’ll have people with common sense calling the closings, and they’ll warn you during the night (I’m signed up for texts), or first thing in the morning.

        One of the BIG complaints around here is that they wait until the absolutely last second to call it. I, and many of my friends, have found ourselves sitting at the bus stop, or en route to the school, when we hear of the closing on the radio. It is VERY frustrating.

    • Joy says:

      Believe it or not, I wrote this on Sunday after Paul and I listened to the news guys scared crapless because “oh my god, we might get 3 inches of snow!” When I saw it on your FB yesterday, it cracked me right up.

  5. Laura says:

    And yes, Joy, I completely agree with you. When there’s a watch/warning for everything, 24/7, people get sensitized and ignore it. That massive tornado in Joplin, MO, what, last year? The year before? I remember some of the reports said that people IGNORED the warnings because they’d heard it all before. And still, we get more and more.

  6. Jenny says:

    I will never forget that Joy!! That darn funnel cloud almost going right over your house and you’re busy cookin supper. LOL I followed that funnel cloud all the way home from work.

    As far as the warnings go, I mainly worry about the tornado ones. I don’t care about thunderstorm watches/warnings, flood, all the others. I watch the news if they say we’re getting a big snow storm cause I hate driving in that crap! I wish they would just make a weather radio for tornado settings.

  7. Laura says:

    I agree on the Tornado Warnings, but the problem I have with them is that they’re too vague. And I know that, in some ways, that’s not the Weather Service’s fault. But it seems like, with all of the GPS Technology available today, they should be able to better pinpoint a location for where a Tornado Warning should be posted.

    For example: Right now, we use SAME Technology with our NOAA Weather Radio. SAME stands for Specific Area Message Encoding, and you can put in a code (ours is, I believe, by county) for where you live, so you don’t get things like Avalanche Warnings when you don’t live anywhere near snow. Supposedly. Anyway… using a SAME code will cause my alarm to go off anytime there is a watch/warning posted in my numerical area. But it still sets off the warning when the tornado is in the extreme north-eastern corner of my county, when I live in the middle – about 20 miles away.

    It seems like they should be able to reprogram those SAME codes. I don’t know how, but like I said, with GPS so common, you should be able to use your coordinates and find a SAME Code that more specifically defines your location.

    And THEN, they can stop setting off a watch/warning every time someone stubs their toe or spills coffee.

  8. Joy says:

    I’m sorry for being so absent today. I’ve been going through old pictures that I want to do some scrapping on and display somewhere so I’ve been buried in old photos.

    I have that same NOAA radio and haven’t had it on in two years. I figure who needs that with the meteorologists constantly breaking into tv programming. I’m just like Laura too that I can “feel” when we’re going to get a bad storm and maybe a tornado. When you go through what I went through with our Fridley tornadoes, you just know. I don’t need all the warnings usually. If we’re supposed to get a bad one during the night, I just stay up. Laura’s also right that those alarms can wake the dead. Here’s another look at that night so long ago.

    I just think when there are so many it just gets silly. The other night they were calling for a “bad one” with 3-6 inches “maybe” coming within 60 miles from us, Paul and I looked at another and laughed. He said to me “that would never have bothered me back in the day.” We’d have left for a trip or we’d have gone anywhere we’d have planned to

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