Some SouthCoast Residents Questioning Overnight Emergency Weather Alerts
As you can probably imagine, I'm an early-to-bed kind of guy. When people wonder how I wake up at 3:30 every morning, I always give the same answer: my unbreakable "In Bed by 9" rule. I start to panic if I'm not at least in bed by 9 p.m. I don't have to be sound asleep, but I need to be settling in.
I was 100 percent sound asleep when the first blast hit my phone at 11:30 last night. I jumped up in a panic, no idea what was happening. That panic didn't calm when I looked at my phone and saw the emergency alert issuing a tornado warning until 12:15 a.m. The warning advised everyone to take shelter in a basement if available and to protect yourself from flying debris.
I didn't know what to do. Should I wake up the sleeping kids and drag everyone down into the cellar, knowing that would totally screw their rest up for school in the morning?
I decided against it. Right or wrong, I decided to wait it out and see what happened.
I turned off the air conditioner to listen for the unsettling roar of an oncoming tornado. I woke up an hour or two later, relieved that we weren't hit.
We received another blast at 2:30 this morning. It was a warning about potential flash flooding. This was positioned by the National Weather Service as "a dangerous and life-threatening situation." It encouraged people to shelter in place unless they were fleeing an area that was flooding.
Wow, that's some serious language coming from the National Weather Service. I'd imagine those words were chosen very, very carefully in an effort to stress the importance of caution without causing widespread panic.
Another blast came in hours later as we were preparing to go on the air this morning – more "life threatening situation" warnings. As broadcasters, we are responsible for passing that information onto our audience, which we did.
In the back of my mind, however, there was a small part of me that wondered if all of this was really necessary. I know what you're saying, and you're right. The National Weather Service is damned if they do, and damned if they don't. God forbid they don't send out the alert and a tornado or flash flood kills people. It's happened before, for sure, but ABC6 Chief Meteorologist Jeff Desnoyers recently addressed this very issue.
Desnoyers admitted that the NWS warnings can sometimes be overkill, but that it is definitely better to be safe than sorry. Desnoyers also pointed out that quite often, a warning is issued for a thunderstorm that never actually pans out, so more alerts than you want or need are to be expected.
Some local families also questioned the necessity of the blasts on Facebook. "Trying to fall asleep," wrote one mom. "I'm sure it's dangerous, but when it went off I thought it was a tornado hitting us. I totally get them putting it out there, but waking up the whole house at 2:30 in the morning? I don't get that."
Another joked that the three wake-up blasts were "cruel and unnecessary."
What are your thoughts? Do you feel like it's better safe than sorry, or should the threat be more serious before blasts are sent out in the middle of the night?
KEEP READING: What to do after a tornado strikes
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