Shaun Tanner has been a meteorologist at Weather Underground since 2004.
By: Shaun Tanner , 5:16 AM GMT on April 13, 2012
The Storm Prediction Center has predicted a slight chance of severe weather for parts of Texas and Oklahoma this entire week, thus it should come as no surprise that the weekend holds the best chance of dangerous severe weather.
The Storm Prediction Center has issued an upgraded, high chance of severe weather from central Oklahoma through eastern Kansas (see image below). In addition, there is a moderate risk of severe weather from western Texas through southern Iowa, and a slight risk in the greater area from central Texas through southern Wisconsin.
I cannot stress the severity of this situation enough. Residents living in these regions should prepare for severe weather on Saturday.
What is severe weather, you ask? Severe weather can come in a variety of forms, including large hail, damaging wind, flooding rains, and even tornadoes. Thus, if you find that you live in the high risk area for Saturday (I'm looking at you, Oklahoma City and Wichita), then I would definitely make preparations for severe weather well before Saturday (that means start TODAY). Even if you are not greeted by severe weather, it is much better to be safe than sorry.
The best way you can keep yourself aware of any potentially dangerous weather in the area is to go buy a weather radio. Better yet, Weather Underground has a list of weather radio feeds where you can listen to the most up-to-date information regarding severe weather.
It is also important to keep appraised of severe weather before it hits your city. Most likely what will happen early in the day is the National Weather Service will issue Tornado Watches for the areas most likely to be affected by tornadoes. This absolutely does not mean tornadoes cannot form outside of these watches, so I would still keep an eye out for any development if you are anywhere close to the slight risk area. Weather Underground's severe weather map is a good resource to find what areas are currently under a watch or a warning. As Saturday progresses, thunderstorms will begin to develop. I might be slightly prejudice, but I truly believe the best way to track severe weather and thunderstorms in general is by using the WunderMap with the radar layer turned on. This will give you the most up-to-date view on where the thunderstorms are developing, and which way they are going. You can zoom into your town to see exact where any particular thunderstorms is.
Now, if one of these thunderstorms begins to have rotation, the National Weather Service will issue a Tornado Warning. This means that tornado formation could be imminent or a tornado has already formed. If you find yourself in a Tornado Warning area, TAKE COVER RIGHT AWAY. That means go to your basement and wait...with the weather radio turned on for the latest information. If you do not have a basement, go to the most interior room in your home, away from windows and doors. One of the safest places for you is actually in a bathtub in an interior bathroom.
Please stay safe out there on Saturday if you are in the Plains. Use good judgement, and make sure to prepare your neighbors who might not be aware of the potential for a severe weather outbreak.
As always, we will be covering any severe weather outbreak, minute-by-minute, on our Twitter account. All you have to do is follow us!
The views of the author are his/her own and do not necessarily represent the position of The Weather Company or its parent, IBM.
Comments will take a few seconds to appear.