Severe Weather

Emergency Sanitation and Hygiene Training

AAACERT hosted its first online training via Zoom on March 25, 2020, on the topic of emergency sanitation and hygiene. President Bruce Morgenstern welcomed participants and explained that AAACERT is using this interactive video platform to practice safe social distancing during the pandemic of the novel coronavirus that causes COVID-19.

The presenter, Public Information Officer Jonathan Hutson, thanked our corporate donors: Bass Pro Shops and Cabela’s, makers of the Cabela’s Easy Up privacy and shower shelter and Camp Commode camping toilet; home improvement store Home Depot; Rambler Wheels, makers of the Wild Stool emergency bucket toilet seat; and Lavario, makers of the Lavario off-grid, portable washing machine.

Hutson, who had been planning a training on emergency sanitation and hygiene for several months, and adapted some of the material in the context of the COVID-19 pandemic, asked participants to imagine:

A hurricane knocks out the power grid for three weeks. Flood waters compromise public sanitation and water treatment facilities. When you flip the light switch, nothing happens. Your toilet won’t flush. You can’t get clean water from your taps. Public health authorities warn that local waterways are contaminated with bacteria, viruses, protozoa, heavy metals, toxic chemicals, and particulates.

Shelters are crowded. If you have the option to stay put, and if you prefer to shelter in place, then what is your plan to get clean water, practice safe hygiene, or go to the bathroom?

Hutson pointed out that sound, scalable solutions are available based on knowledge and experience from disaster response agencies around the world, public health officials, boaters, campers, hikers, hunters, RVers, and nurses.

This training, which AAACERT hopes to make available soon by video, shows safe, effective, practical, understandable, and affordable ways to get clean water to prepare a cup of hot coffee; make an easy, nutritious meal; and wash up. Demonstrations included: how to take a rinseless sponge bath with three ounces of water; how to clean your hands and shampoo your hair with no water; how to make an emergency toilet for $20 – and why your household needs two of these; how to keep your emergency toilets fresh-smelling and free of flies; how to safely dispose of your waste; how to find and store toilet paper alternatives; and how to put up a simple privacy screen. Beyond the basics, participants learned how to upgrade their emergency toilets; how to light them up without electricity or find them in the dark; and how to adapt them for people who are pregnant, recovering from surgery, heavy, or unsteady on their feet.

This training included practical applications for individual households, shelter workers, first responders, and search-and-rescue teams in the field. The hands-on demonstrations were followed by a question and answer period.

Products demonstrated during the training included:

Cabela’s Easy Up privacy and shower shelter, which is very sturdy and large enough to accommodate two emergency bucket toilets, and which can also be used as a shower tent or changing room

Yeti Loadout 5-gallon bucket for making emergency bucket toilets (one for liquids and another for solids)

Wild Stool toilet seat for Yeti Loadout and all 5-gallon buckets

Luggable Loo snap-on toilet seat for 5-gallon buckets

Cabela’s Camp Commode camping toilet, which can be used with heavy kitchen garbage bags or with Double Doodie toilet waste bags

Coconut coir bricks, which may be used in place of sawdust to eliminate odors and keep pests away from solid waste

Heavy-duty, biodegradable kitchen trash bags to line emergency bucket toilets

Strongtek toilet stool to aid toddlers in using emergency bucket toilets and to keep the lines to the bathroom moving faster

Cyalume Cyflect reflective, glow-in-the-dark tape with adhesive backing to help you find your emergency toilets and bedside commodes in low light conditions

Bedside-Care Spray no-rinse cleanser and Dry shampoo to keep clean while conserving water

Scrubbz rinse-free bath sponges that are light enough to carry in a backpack or store in a glove compartment for emergency hygiene when you need to take a sponge bath

Hibiclens antiseptic/antimicrobial skin cleanser to create an invisible film on your hands that keeps killing bacteria, viruses, and fungi for six or more hours

Compressed toilet tissues to store emergency toilet paper in your pocket, glove compartment, purse, or backpack

KennelSol germicidal detergent and deodorizer to kill bacteria, viruses, fungi, to be diluted and used with a spray bottle for cleaning solutions to spray down delivery packages and canned goods, or to sanitize counters. You may also use it with a mop to sanitize floors.

Calcium Hypochlorite crystals for making bleach. One gallon of crystals will remain shelf stable for more than 10 years and make 10,000 gallons of bleach — enough for your whole neighborhood.

Lumin UV-C light cleaner for CPAP machines and PhoneSoap’s HomeSoap UV light cleaner to sterilize phones, N95 respirators, keys, flashlights, and other small gear using UV-C light.

Lavario portable clothes washer (enter code AAACERT for a 20% discount) to wash your clothes off-grid when the power is out.

Life Straw personal water filter for emergency hydration

Grayle Geopress 24-ounce water purifier

Royal Berkey gravity-fed water filter, 3.25 gallon capacity. A pair of Black Berkey Purification Elements (included) lasts for up to 6,000 gallons before needing replacement.

Iwatani single-burner, 15,000 BTU butane stove with easy, intuitive 8-ounce butane canister connection, heat sink to promote fuel efficiency, and safety features.

Thermos thermal cooker because cooking with retained heat can conserve 95 percent of your fuel.

AAACERT trains volunteers in disaster response skills and emergency preparedness. AAACERT volunteers assist others in our community following a disaster when professional responders are not immediately available to help. When activated under the Anne Arundel County Office of Emergency Management, or the City of Annapolis Office of Emergency Management, AAACERT supports emergency response agencies.

Emergency Sanitation and Hygiene Training Read More »

July Training: Managing Pets and Livestock during Disasters

On July 17, Briana Kracke of the Anne Arundel County Office of Emergency Management (OEM) shared overall principles of animal care and handling for owners and emergency managers in the event of a widespread disaster. Ms. Kracke is a Preparedness Planner for the OEM and holds several degrees related to emergency management, agriculture, and biosecurity.

Harsh Realities

The need for training in the area of animal and agriculture awareness is underscored by statistical realities: According to Ms. Kracke, 68% of U.S. households own pets, but 91% of those pet owners admit they are unprepared to care for their animals in the next natural disaster. Moreover, of all of the country’s economic sectors, agriculture remains the least protected from harm and malintent.

As with all emergency management, the care and protection of animals in a disaster should follow four phases. During preparedness, officials conduct planning, training (such as this one), and exercises. (A shelter exercise including fake pets will occur on July 31 at Anne Arundel Community College), as well as community outreach. The second phase is mitigation, during which education of the public occurs. Emergency managers assess potential hazards, and while the sun is shining, they make necessary improvements to infrastructure. The third phase is responding to the disaster itself. The number one priority during response efforts is incident stabilization and life safety, followed by (sometimes concurrent with) evacuation and mass care. Following the passage of the incident, the recovery phase begins. During the recovery phase, officials address economic recovery, management of debris, housing of the displaced, and longer-term health and/or social services for victims. 

Kracke discussed several aspects of agricultural biosecurity. Potential risks to agriculture in Maryland include disease, a radiological incident, agroterrorism, and natural disaster. Disease is an ever-present threat, requiring close coordination between farmers, emergency managers, and the Maryland Department of Agriculture’s Animal Health Program, which works to prevent and control contagious and infectious disease in the state’s livestock population. Moreover, the proximity of the Calvert Cliffs, Md. and Peach Bottom, Pa. nuclear plants means a radiological contamination of crops and animals remains a distant possibility. Agroterrorism, though unlikely, is also possible via a bioagent or insider attack.

Hurricane Losses

The most likely scenario to affect animal and crop well-being, however, is natural disaster. A strong storm, hurricane, or other event could result in contamination of water sources, the loss of harvest or livestock, an increased susceptibility to disease, and the destruction of key infrastructure, such as irrigation systems. Kracke discussed the costliest hurricanes in U.S. history, which are (in this order): Katrina (2005), Harvey (2017), Maria (2017), Sandy (2012), and Irma (2017). During Katrina, more than 100,000 pets were left behind during evacuation, and approximately 70,000 died throughout the Gulf Coast. Harvey demonstrated the toll a severe storm can take on the livestock industry, affecting 1.2 million cattle in Texas and destroying almost $14 million in infrastructure.

Preparation is Key

The final portion of the evening’s training program focused on strategies for preparation. Small animal owners should, firstly, make a plan. Consider what could happen, and scheme your options for pet care if it did, knowing disasters can occur without notice. The following are some good starting points:

  • Keep a collar with current tags and other contact information for you on your pet.
  • Microchip your pet – one of the best means to ensure reunion with your pet if you are separated.
  • Purchase a pet carrier for each of your pets, and label each one with relevant contact information. *
  • Keep a leash and carrier for each pet near your exit.
  • Ensure you have proper equipment for all of your pets to ride in the car.

*A pet carrier for a cat must be large enough to contain a small litter box if it will be in a shelter area.

Pack for yourself and your pet. Consider the following for the latter:

  • Pet food
  • Fresh water
  • Prescription medications
  • Medical records
  • Registration documentation**
  • A recent photo of you with your pet
  • List of pet-friendly hotels
  • Proper identification tag for the pet (consider including both your name and that of a friend outside the area, in case you can’t be reached)
  • Information about the microchip
  • Documentation where to go, how to get there (the internet may not be accessible)

**If your dog, cat, horse, or other pet is a pure-bred or particularly high cash-value animal holding the registration papers may be key to reclamation.

For horses, also consider packing the following for each horse:

  • Coggins papers – used to test for a disease called Equine Infectious Anemia (EIA)
  • Vaccination records
  • Medical records summary
  • Cleaning supplies
  • Two-week supply of medication
  • Three-to-five-day food and water supply
  • A list of available hay/feed distributors
  • A list of alternative stabling options
  • Halter
  • Lead rope

Be sure to keep all paperwork in waterproof bags.

If you must shelter in place with your pet, be aware of the following considerations: The room must be pet-friendly, in that it is safe – preferably an interior space with no (or few) windows. Additionally, it should contain no toxic chemicals or plants. Endeavor to close off small areas where frightened cats could become stuck (such as in vents or under heavy furniture). 

After the Rain

Natural disasters present many challenges on many fronts for both humans and animals. It is important to remember practical, common sense safety skills when interacting with stray, lost, or unfamiliar sheltered animals during or after an event passes. Practice good hand hygiene, and ensure you have all of your vaccinations. Don’t let the animals lick your face or interact with other dogs or wildlife. Keep your pet or found pets on a leash, and be sure to report any bites you or they sustain to the proper authorities for examination and treatment. And, as always, don’t allow your pet or a found pet to drink or play in contaminated standing water.

For animal owners, pets are family members, and no one wants to leave a family member behind. In the wake of much human and animal loss during Hurricane Katrina’s devastating hit in 2005, emergency managers have become experts at helping pet owners to keep themselves and their pets safe. Proactively using the above and other available information, it is possible to weather the storm with your animals safely.

AAACERT trains volunteers in disaster response skills and emergency preparedness. AAACERT volunteers assist others in our community following a disaster when professional responders are not immediately available to help. When activated under the Anne Arundel County Office of Emergency Management, or the City of Annapolis Office of Emergency Management, AAACERT supports emergency response agencies.

July Training: Managing Pets and Livestock during Disasters Read More »

Monthly Training Focuses on Weather Hazards and Safety

On Wednesday, June 19, Anne Arundel-Annapolis Community Emergency Response Team (AAACERT) training featured a presentation on Weather Hazards and Safety by Joseph Seborowski of the Anne Arundel County Office of Emergency Management (OEM). Seborowski, a trained meteorologist, is a Recovery Planner with the OEM.

Mr. Seborowski noted that Maryland’s location between the Atlantic Ocean and the Appalachian Mountains, with the Chesapeake Bay in its midst, means that the state experiences nearly every type of weather phenomenon, including thunderstorms, tornadoes, flooding, tidal/coastal flooding, tropical storms/hurricanes, severe winter weather, enhanced fire threat, and extreme heat and cold. He discussed weather terms and tools, and outlined appropriate safety measures all citizens can take for each potential weather hazard. On its website, the OEM hosts the Citizen’s Guide to Emergencies, a great reference on how to prepare.

Maryland is prone to thunderstorms, he noted. Among the possible terminology weather watchers might encounter (Outlook, Advisory, Watch, and Warning), Seborowski noted that there are also six thunderstorm risk categories, ranging from “slight” to “high”; Maryland’s thunderstorms generally fall within the slight-to-enhanced range. The dangers that can accompany storms include microbursts – “punches” of wind up to 120 m.p.h. from the most intense part of the storm – and non-thunderstorm winds resulting from tight air pressure gradients between strong areas of low and high pressure. In all cases of wind, he noted the importance for safety of securing loose outdoor objects, moving to an interior room, being prepared for outages, and especially treating any downed wires as live and not approaching them. 

Lightning is an additional hazard from thunderstorms. Seborowski reminded the group that 98% of lightning casualties occur outside, and that even a pavilion is not considered safe shelter. Lightning can strike up to 10 miles from an area of rain. Seborowski reminded CERT members of the “30/30 Rule”: Count 30 seconds after seeing lightning or hearing thunder – if you hear thunder, you are at risk; and wait 30 minutes after hearing the last rumble of thunder before emerging outdoors.

Flooding is a year-round threat in Maryland. Though it might be tempting to proceed because “you know the road,” never attempt to traverse water covering the road surface. A mere six inches of water can cause the vehicle to lose traction and be swept off of the pavement.  Additionally, the road may no longer be there.

Seborowski discussed the difference between tornadoes, funnel clouds, and waterspouts, and reminded CERT team members of basic tornado safety. A tornado is a funnel in contact with the ground, while a funnel that does not touch the ground is not a tornado. A waterspout is a tornado over water. Maryland typically sees three-to-four tornadoes per year, although that number may be increasing. Participants in the SKYWARN program assist weather authorities by reporting what is actually occurring in various locations, as the official radar stations are located in Sterling, Va., Dover, Del., and State College, Pa. As always, the key to tornado safety is to get quickly to a basement or interior room with no windows.

Next, Seborowski explained the difference between a tropical wave, tropical depression, tropical storm, and hurricane – all of which can affect Maryland. A tropical wave occurs when a long area of low pressure moves in an easterly direction across the tropics, potentially creating inclement weather. If winds move in a circular direction at speeds of 38 m.p.h. or slower, a tropical depression exists. A tropical storm is declared at windspeeds of 39 m.p.h. or higher, and a hurricane has wind speeds of 74 m.p.h. or higher. The 2019 Atlantic forecast calls for nine to 15 named storms, and four to eight hurricanes, with two to four of those being major hurricanes. Tropical storm/hurricane safety would seem to be common sense: Know your evacuation zone and evacuation route, have your supplies packed and ready to go, and stay abreast of updates from a reliable source.

The final Maryland weather hazard Seborowski discussed was extreme heat and cold. He directed the CERT learners to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s Heat Index Table, as well as the National Weather Service’s Wind Chill Chart for reference. In heat, it is important always not to leave a person or pet in a vehicle, to seek air-conditioning and/or shade where it is available, to wear loose, lightweight clothing, and to remain hydrated. Contrary to some teaching, running a fan in hot temperatures does not cool the body, and consuming high-energy drinks can cause more over-heating. In extreme cold, remain indoors in heat, and remember to check on the elderly and pets. Wear layered, loose-fitting clothes, including – if outdoors – a hat and hand-covering (mittens are better than gloves!). Remember to keep your mouth covered and stay dry. Lastly, monitor your well-being while shoveling snow, as heart attack is common due to the extra stress on the system during that exertion.

Lastly, Seborowski described the three types of radar officials use to predict the weather for a geographic location. Base Reflectivity (BR) measures the type and location of precipitation. However, Base Velocity (BV) radar can tell users the speed of various patches of precipitation and where fronts may be colliding, providing some predictive capability for possible violent weather. The third type of radar is Vertically Integrated Liquid (VIL), which measures the total amount of water vapor in a column of air (and can be a good gauge of hail activity).

Seborowski shared many additional facts, and AAACERT learners got good answers to their many questions. Thanks to his thorough presentation, the team is now better informed about Maryland’s particular weather hazards and how to avoid the accompanying dangers those conditions might bring.

Photo: Potential tropical cyclones in 2019 are named by weather officials; Andrea has already passed. (Slide Source: J. Seborowski, AAOEM) 

Monthly Training Focuses on Weather Hazards and Safety Read More »

Skywarn Spotter Course

Do you have an interest in weather? Would you like to be able to help your local National Weather Service (NWS) office by providing the ground truth on the atmosphere that we observe from radar, satellites, and various reporting stations? If so, consider attending the SKYWARN® program Basic course.

In this course, NWS personnel train attendees to recognize features associated with developing, mature, and dissipating thunderstorms that cause hazardous weather such as lightning, flooding, hail, tornadoes, and downbursts. The attendees will also learn basics about winter weather and
tropical hazards.

At the end of the course, graduates will be assigned a SKYWARN® spotter number which will be maintained in the official database at the NWS in Sterling. They will also be directed how to report this vital weather information. Those who have attended in the past but want a refresher, are welcome to attend again.

This SKYWARN® Spotter Class is offered free of charge from the combined efforts of the local NWS Forecast Office and Anne Arundel County Office of Emergency Management. A National Weather Service meteorologist will teach the class and provide related materials.

Registration is required to attend the class. Please click here to register.

Thursday, April 4, 2019
1830-2030 (6:30-8:30 p.m.)

Anne Arundel County Office of Emergency Management (OEM)
7480 Baltimore Annapolis Blvd.
Glen Burnie, MD 21061

Contact for questions or concerns regarding the class.

“Skywarn® and the Skywarn® logo are registered trademarks of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, used with permission.”

Photo: Vasin Lee/

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Maryland Emergency Management Agency (MEMA) Launches “Know Your Zone”

The following is taken from the MEMA website.

Program Designed to Ease Evacuation in Areas Subject to Tidal Floods, Surge

REISTERSTOWN, Md. (June 14, 2018) — With the record-setting 2017 hurricane season still fresh in most American’s minds, the Maryland Emergency Management Agency (MEMA), in conjunction with local emergency managers, is rolling out a new hurricane and severe weather evacuation system as a result of the Maryland hurricane evacuation study which concluded earlier this year.  The study identified 3 large areas in Maryland subject to tidal flooding. Know Your Zone aims to bring awareness of the evacuation zones to the forefront of Marylanders’ summer plans and make evacuation notices easier to disseminate.

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration recently released its forecast for the upcoming season and predicted near- to above-normal activity.  However, it only takes one storm hitting the mid-Atlantic area to seriously affect Maryland.

“As experts are forecasting an active Hurricane season this year, I strongly encourage all Marylanders to be proactive, prepared, and to Know Your Zone,” said Governor Hogan. “We are all too familiar with the devastating impacts of severe weather and flooding, so remain vigilant, spread the word to your friends, family, neighbors and let them know about the importance of this potentially life-saving initiative.”

The Know Your Zone Logo. A Hurricane Icon with the Maryland State Flag image in it. Text reads "Know Your Zone It's as easy as A-B-C"

Residents of and visitors to Maryland are encouraged to visit the new interactive Know Your Zone web page,, where they can learn more about the project. On that page, you can type in an address and quickly find out what zone, if any, the property is located in.

The first year of the program will encourage Maryland residents to know the evacuation zone of their residence, business or vacation site. The zones are designated by letters AB and C.

Zone A areas are the most likely to be impacted by severe flooding in the event of a major storm or hurricane. In future years, the program will focus on refining evacuation routes away from the affected areas. “Proper and timely messaging for evacuations saves lives,” said MEMA Executive Director Russ Strickland. “This new system is designed to make it easier for local emergency managers to evacuate areas by encouraging Marylanders to Know Your Zone before a storm hits.”

The three evacuation zones only affect areas subject to tidal flooding or storm surge – communities at or near the Atlantic Ocean, the Coastal Bays, and the Chesapeake Bay and its tributaries. That covers 16 Maryland counties along with Annapolis, Baltimore City and Ocean City.

“Hurricane Sandy in 2012 was a wake-up call for the mid-Atlantic region; it could have been Maryland,” said Strickland. “Working with local and federal partners, and using technology that until recently was not available, we studied updated flooding and surge patterns caused by more powerful storms to develop these new evacuation plans.”

If local officials feel an evacuation is needed to protect lives, they will issue the order by zones instead of having to define specific geographic areas. This program is similar to one rolled out last year in neighboring Virginia.

The Atlantic hurricane season runs from June to November. Hurricanes can cause strong winds, heavy rain, inland flooding and other severe weather, but residents in Maryland can be prepared by ensuring they know how to receive a warning, have a plan, practice safety tips and know their evacuation zone.

It is important to remember Maryland can see hurricanes and impacts from a storm hundreds of miles away. Hurricanes can produce 150-plus miles per hour winds, tornadoes and tremendous flooding from both tidal surges as well as torrential rain

Residents can also take the following actions to remain safe:

  • Build an emergency supply kit and develop a family emergency and communications plan.
  • Stay tuned to trusted sources such as the National Weather Service and local broadcasters for official weather information.
  • Follow instructions and advice given by emergency officials, especially instructions related to evacuation.
  • During severe weather, stay indoors away from windows, close all interior doors, and brace external doors. If you live near the shore or coast, expect the storm tide will inundate your home.
  • Monitor NWS flood warnings for your area and be prepared to seek higher ground. Flooding is often our biggest threat.
  • Fill a bathtub or other large container with water for sanitary purposes such as cleaning and flushing toilets.
  • Charge electronic devices before bad weather hits and consider keeping a charger in your car.

Additional preparedness information can be found on MEMA’s website at Residents can download the free MARYLAND Prepares mobile app. They can also follow MEMA on Twitter or on Facebook.

Maryland Emergency Management Agency (MEMA) Launches “Know Your Zone” Read More »

National Weather Service (NWS) Sterling Open House

The Sterling Virginia office of the National Weather Service (NWS) will be holding an open hose Saturday, April 30 and Sunday May 1. This will be an opportunity to see the operations of the local NWS office.
– Learn how Warnings & Forecasts are Made
– Hourly Weather Balloon Launch
-Child Friendly Weather Experiments
– Tours of the NWS office (an exceptional opportunity since this is usually secured)
– Learn about setting up your own Weather Station
– Various presentations on weather threats
– BASIC Skywarn Spotter class will be offered


Visit to learn more


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Skywarn Basic Spotter Class

Anne Arundel – Annapolis CERT and the Anne Arundel County Office of Emergency Management is sponsoring a Skywarn Basic Spotter Class. This class will be presented by professional Meteorologist from the National Weather Service from Sterling Virginia.

This course is a prerequisite for all other courses. Basics I is a good general overview of what it means to be a spotter as well as the basics of the different weather phenomenon that impacts the Mid-Atlantic. Upon completion of the course, you will be registered in the program by the NWS. You will receive a spotter code from the NWS within 6 weeks. Training in Basics I includes:

  • The basic organization of the National Weather Service
  • The role and importance of the Skywarn spotter
  • How to report vital info to the NWS
  • NWS Products and the Watch/Warning/Advisory system
  • Thunderstorm, Flooding, Tropical and Winter Weather Threats
  • The role of amateur short-wave (HAM) radio in the Spotter Program

Date: 2016 January 21
Time: 1900 – 2200 (3 hours)
Anne Arundel County Office of Emergency Management
7480 Baltimore Annapolis Blvd.
Glen Burnie, MD 21061


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What pet owners need to think about in the event of an emergency

I’ve been asked by Mike Simpson, Chairperson, Anne Arundel and Annapolis Citizen Corps Council to pass along this announcement for their upcoming meeting. Looks like a great topic especially for those of us who have (and are responsible for) pets. Hope to see you there. There is no RSVP.

Date: Wednesday, August 26
Time: 19:30
Location: Anne Arundel County Fire Training Academy
Speaker: June Gravitte
Topic: What pet owners need to think about in the event of an emergency.

The guest speaker will be June Gravitte, former Noah’s Wish Assistant Coordinator for Region 8, primarily responsible for Baltimore/Washington area networking (MDSART, Maryland VOAD, Prince George’s County CERT/Citizen Corps).  She  will be addressing what pet owners need to do and think about in the event of an emergency,  focusing on the basics of survival including evacuation, sheltering options, food and water as well as providing an overview of what Anne Arundel County  groups responsible for animals in disasters should consider when preparing for disaster responses.  June was part of animal sheltering deployments for Hurricanes: Katrina 2005; Gustav and Ike: 2008 (Ike was also with EARS/HSUS) Wildfire:  Lillooet, British Columbia 2010.

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Tuning in for Tornadoes

Tuning in for Tornadoes

Tornadoes are one of nature’s most violent storms and can cause death, injury, and destruction within seconds. Having advanced notice that a tornado isapproaching your area can give you the critical time needed to move to a safeplace for protection. Before severe weather strikes, pay attention to weather reports and be sure to sign up for text alerts and download smart phone apps that provide weather warnings.

Whileyou may not always receive an official tornado alert in your area, there arewarning signs that can indicate a tornado is near. Page four of the How to Prepare for a Tornado guide from America’s PrepareAthon! highlights these signs, including:

  • A change in the color of the sky;
  • An approaching cloud of debris;
  • A strange quiet occurring within or shortly after a thunderstorm; or
  • A loud roar that sounds similar to a freight train.

Ifyou experience these signs, take action immediately and go to the safest placefor protection such as a FEMA saferoom or InternationalCode Council 500 storm shelter. If you do not have access to one of these structures, move to a small, interior, windowless room such as a closet or bathroom, on the lowest level of your building and cover your head and neck with your arms.

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Understanding Tornadoes – NWS Wakefield (Sponsor VDEM) – Video – PDF

Bill Sammler, National Weather Service, Wakefield, VA, presents “Understanding Tornadoes, Microbursts and Downbursts” webinar. This webinar was sponsored by Virginia Department Emergency Management on March 24, 2015 via a Webinar.
Every year, wind related thunderstorms and sever weather causes damage throughout the United States. The damage most frequently results from straight-line thunderstorm winds (also known as downbursts and microbursts), and much less frequently from tornadoes. This webinar will look at the basic meteorology of these wind phenomena, and provide some insight as to what clues NWS meteorologists look for to determine whether a thunderstorm could produce a tornado, or is strong enough to generate damaging straight-line thunderstorm wind.

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Webinar Slides in PDF


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Skywarn Spotter Flood Class

Anne Arundel – Annapolis CERT and the Anne Arundel County Office of Emergency Management is sponsoring a Skywarn Flood Class. This class will be presented by professional Meteorologist from the National Weather Service from Sterling Virginia.

Training in the Flood class is a good overview of flood threats in this area. It is intended for everyone. Basics I is a prerequisite for this class. The Flood class includes:

  • Role of spotters & review of area
  • What to report & how
  • Types of flooding
  • Forecasting and meteorology of flooding
  • Review of some flooding cases
  • NWS products for flooding

Date: 2016 April 21
Time: 1900 – 2200 (3 hours)
Anne Arundel County Office of Emergency Management
7480 Baltimore Annapolis Blvd.
Glen Burnie, MD 21061

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