Photo Credit: RadarScope
To many of those living where tornadoes are frequent in the United States, the scariest thing is to be caught in a tornado while you are dead asleep at night. Southern states are especially prone to nocturnal tornado events because they tend to have a year-round severe weather season. Although severe weather occurs more frequently during the spring and summer, the mild winters in the south have warmer temperatures and earlier sunset times. These factors increase the risk of nighttime tornadoes in the winter. Even though the probability of these events occurring in the winter is less, when they happen, they are underestimated, and many are unaware of the threat.
Nocturnal tornadoes are the most dangerous during the wintertime because of the increased probability of these storms happening at night due to earlier sunset times. The fatality rate is much higher for nocturnal events as compared to daytime events. A study done in 2008 by Walker Ashley and Andrew Krmenec of Northern Illinois University showed that nocturnal tornado events are 2.5 times more deadly than daytime events. This is not only because many are at home asleep and unaware at night, but because many people are at home in residential buildings that are structurally weaker than sturdier commercial buildings. This leaves people more vulnerable if a nocturnal tornado event should occur. Nighttime also makes it hard for storm spotters to spot a tornado and deliver reports to the National Weather Service.
So, you’re at home and you want to be aware if a nocturnal tornado happens? There are plenty of actions to take to make sure you and your family are prepared, alerted, and safe when such an event should occur. To be best informed, be sure to follow the suggestions below to keep up to date on weather events, warnings, and emergencies.
Before the event:
The day/night of:
Although nocturnal tornadoes are scary, much like a real-life nightmare, they can’t sneak up on you if you are prepared. Having a plan in place and making sure you have a sufficient warning system are keys to being informed. By following the suggestions above, you can wake up in time and take sufficient shelter during these events. The safer you are, the better off you are in case a tornado where to hit your neighborhood at night.
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©2018 Meteorologist Alexandria Maynard