Wind Storms, Winter Storms, Lightning, and Other Severe Weather
The National Weather Service Office of Public Affairs Web page provides links to numerous NWS pages addressing various aspects of weather hazards. The links are organized according to NWS background information; data, statistics, indices, reports, research; severe weather and safety; climate; publications; photos and webcams; and other resources. The site also lists recent information and press releases from the NWS.
The National Severe Storms Laboratory is one of the Environmental Research Laboratories of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. Headquartered in Norman, Oklahoma, the NSSL, in partnership with the National Weather Service (see below), is dedicated to improving the nation's severe weather warnings and forecasts in order to save lives and reduce property damage. The NSSL Web site includes general information about the lab and the research it undertakes, as well as a list of lab publications. Particularly useful to individuals interested in severe weather (especially students) is the "Weather Room" - with sections on "Phenomena," "Weather Careers," "Weather Lessons," and "Interesting Weather Things" (links to other Web sites and weather data).
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The National Weather Service (NWS) Office of Meteorology Web site is a trove of useful meteorological hazard information. It not only includes information on current conditions, but also provides online versions of the NWS newsletters Aware and AwareNow; information on flood, hurricane, tornado, winter weather, and other severe weather preparedness and response; natural hazard statistics and a map of the current year's disasters; as well as drought, climate change, and El Nino information. It links to IWIN - the Interactive Weather Information Network, which shows currently active severe weather warnings, and EMWIN - the Emergency Managers Weather Information Network (see below). It also includes information about the office, notices about the ongoing changes and modernization of the Weather Service, complete Service Assessments (evaluations of NWS performance before, during, and following disasters), a list of meetings and conferences, a link to the hurricane watch office, maps and information about historical disasters, and an index of the many NWS publications and hazard awareness materials available on-line.
These are the Web sites of the National Weather Service's (NWS) Integrated Weather Information Network (IWIN) - the service's Internet data source - and the Emergency Managers Weather Information Network (EMWIN) - a cooperative effort of the NWS, the Federal Emergency Management Agency, and other public and private organizations. EMWIN is intended to provide the emergency management community with access to basic NWS warnings, watches, forecasts, and other products and involves a suite of methods - including radio, Internet, and satellite - to provide this basic weather information.
The U.S. Weather Research Program is a cooperative effort of four federal agencies: the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, National Science Foundation, Department of Defense, and National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA). Together, these agencies support research into many aspects of weather - including meteorologic hazards. Indeed, a priority goal is the improvement of forecasts of hurricane landfall and heavy (potentially flood-inducing) precipitation. This Web site provides an overview and details about program structure and ongoing research, as well as an index of upcoming meetings and program reports.
The National Weather Service (NWS) has created a program to help cities, counties, and other local governments implement procedures to reduce the potential for weather-related disasters. By participating in "StormReady," local agencies can earn recognition for their jurisdiction by meeting voluntary criteria established by the NWS in partnership with federal, state, and local emergency management professionals. The StormReady Web site describes these various criteria; offers background information about the program; and provides a list of useful publications, as well as safety information about winter weather, hurricanes, extreme heat, and other severe weather.
This workbook, Preparing Schools for Severe Weather, was developed by the Fort Worth/Dallas, Texas, forecast office of the National Weather Service.
The Web Site of the National Climate Data Center includes data from thousands of weather stations around the world, as well as hundreds of images, numerous technical reports on extreme weather events, and lots of other climate/weather information.The second URL above focuses on climate extremes and severe weather related to climate change. It includes sections on U.S hurricanes, rainfall, temperature extremes, and tornadoes; billion dollar weather disasters; global climate change; El Nino/La Nina; 1991-98 weather extremes; historical global extremes; climate of 1998; U.S. local storm reports; climatic data; satellite images and radar omposites. The third URL offers Storm Data Publications - including Storm Data, which contains a chronological listing, by state, of hurricanes, tornadoes, thunderstorms, hail, floods, drought conditions, lightning, high winds, snow, temperature extremes, and other weather phenomena. The reports are provided by the National Weather Service and contain statistics on personal injuries and damage estimates.
NOWData (NOAA (National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration) Online Weather Data), a tool from the National Weather Service (NWS), provides climate information, such as past weather conditions and temperature and precipitation averages and extremes. Visitors to the NWS’ national climate Web portal at www.weather.gov/climate/ can click on a desired location on a national map and be taken directly to the local climate page of the appropriate NWS forecast office. Then, by clicking on the NOWData tab, users can access a wide range of climate products for nearly 3,900 locations. Daily weather is available for the last two years with climate averages for the standard 30-year period of 1971-2000 and extremes for as long as a station has been taking observations.
The Societal Aspects of Weather Web page, housed on the Center for Science and Technology Policy Research's Web site, contains interesting statistics on the societal aspects of weather, as well as sections on such climate/weather phenomena as floods, El Nino, tornadoes, extreme temperature, lightning, tropical cyclones, and winter weather. The information is also organized by user groups and resource type. Much other information is available, including a section on weather policy and bibliographic resources pertaining to extreme weather and climate forecasts. The group manages a Weather Policy Listserv and publishes WeatherZine, an informal newsletter serving scholars and practitioners interested in the relation between society and weather. The newsletter is available via e-mail and on the Web as a PDF newsletter and a plain text newsletter.
The National Center for Atmospheric Research (NCAR) Environmental and Societal Impacts Group (ESIG) Web site features a number of weather-related resources for those interested in how climate affects ecosystems and society. The group manages several discussion lists and publishes on-line newsletters, including the ENSO Signal, which focuses on El Nino-Southern Oscillation (ENSO) cycle and its impacts on ecosystems and societies, and the Network Newsletter, which covers climate-related impacts.
Not surprisingly, the Weather Channel hosts an extensive Web site that includes news, maps, photographs, and other information about currently developing tornadoes, hurricanes, thunderstorms, and other severe weather, as well as background information about these phenomena and tips on preparing for and surviving them.
The Weather World 2010 Web site, created by the Department of Atmospheric Sciences at the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign, hosts a wealth of information on weather. It integrates real-time and archived data with instructional resources, using new, interactive technologies. The site includes a multimedia On-line Meteorology Guide, with modules on such specific phenomena as clouds and precipitation, forces and winds, air masses and fronts, weather forecasting, severe storms, El Nino, and, at the second URL above, (the newest module) hurricanes.
The University of Michigan's Weathernet is an excellent source of weather information of all kinds - including current conditions. Much of the data is presented in images and other graphics.
These two Web sites on worldwide official weather forecasts and warnings, the World Weather Information Service and the Severe Weather Information Centre, are developed and operated by the Hong Kong Observatory on behalf of the World Meteorological Organization.
The American Association for Wind Engineering Web site includes "Wind Net" - a communication network intended to facilitate communication to and among wind engineering centers and to the political establishment that controls wind engineering funding. It also provides general information about the group, the association newsletter, and much information and data about wind hazards.
Texas Tech University is the home of the Wind Engineering Research Center, which conducts interdisciplinary research on the effects of wind on civil engineering infrastructure, including buildings, bridges, transmission-line towers, and various other structures. This Web site provides a complete description of the center, its programs, and projects; lists center publications; explains research and other projects that have been undertaken; offers research data and findings, and provides links to other useful Internet resources. Additionally, the holdings of Texas Tech's Wind Engineering Library are online. This resource covers more than 4500 articles and provides a simple system for searching the catalog.
Created by experts on (re)insurance, loss modeling, and extreme weather forecasting and tracking, EuroTempest is an interactive Web-based warning service for European windstorms that offers clear, real-time, advanced forecasts on the timing, route, and localized potential wind damage for windstorms out to five days ahead.
Taking Shelter from the Storm: Building a Safe Room Inside Your House
The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), in cooperation with the Wind Engineering Research Center of Texas Tech University, has developed designs for wind shelters that homeowners can build inside their houses. This free booklet (FEMA 320, 2004) includes an introduction to wind hazards, a homeowner risk assessment worksheet, guidance for selecting a shelter location and design, and cost estimates. Detailed construction plans for builders and contractors are also available.
Windstorm Impact Reduction Implementation Plan (2006)
This plan, mandated by the National Windstorm Impact Reduction Act of 2004, was authored by the interagency working group established to achieve the objectives of the law: namely to reduce the risk wind hazards pose to life and property. The plan examines current activities and capabilities; identifies gaps in knowledge, implementation, and coordination; and makes recommendations. It calls for improved cooperation and coordination between federal agencies, improved coordination with states and local governments, and increased, focused federal investment in wind hazard reduction efforts.
The National Lightning Safety Institute Web page provides information about lightning losses in the United States and offers lightning safety tips for protecting both human beings and human structures.
This home page for a National Weather Service campaign on lightning awareness and safety notes that an average of 66 people are killed annually in the United States by lightning. Check this site for handouts, indoor safety and outdoor risk reduction tips, medical facts, history, survivor stories, photos, teacher tools and more.
Project Safeside is a joint program of the American Red Cross and the Weather Channel to educate individuals and families about meteorological hazards and to increase their recognition of the importance of preparing for natural disasters. This Safeside web page describes when and where people are at risk due to lightning, what to do if a warning is issued and what to do before and after lightning strikes or a thunderstorm passes by.