Thursday, June 25, 2009

Rip Current

Rip currents can be a serious threat and are responsible for over 100 deaths every year in the United States. A rip threat is a strong surface flow that is usually a narrow and extremely powerful current of water that runs perpendicular to the coast that heads back out to sea. These strong water flows can happen at any given time, however during tide changes it can make the current rip more dangerous. These rip currents can travel quickly and can pull a swimmer into the strong flow unexpectedly. Rip currents are commonly mistaken for an undertow, and undertow is a current that pulls a swimming under the water and down to the sand. A rip current doesn't pull a swimmer under water the strong current just moves out to sea. The biggest mistake swimmers encounter is panicking when pulled into a rip current. People tend to swim forward back to shore when the strong current is pulling them out to sea, a swimmers can trier quickly and have no energy left, and drown. The best solution is not to panic and swim parallel to the shore line to get out of the narrow band of water or relax and let the current take you out to sea, once the current is just off shore it dies out and you can swim safely back to land.

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Heat Wave

Although, the Eastern Shore has not experienced a heat wave so far this summer, it doesn't mean you shouldn't be prepared for the hot weather! Typically, heat waves along the NE usually occurs between late June to early September. A heat wave is a prolonged period of extremely hot weather, along with high humidity readings. Along the Eastern Shore, the definition of a heat wave is three or more consecutive days of temperatures 90 degrees and above. Heat waves can last from 3 days to weeks in some areas, here on the Eastern Shore we typically experience 3 days up to a week. Extreme heat waves, usually last about 5 days to a week and in these lengthy situations, you should be alert and be very cautions in staying cool and hydrated!

There truly is not a universal definition for a heat wave. The term and definition varies in different climates, such as the western coast of California the term is different there it is known as a heat storm and must be 3 consecutive days of 100 degrees and above. With extreme heat and high humidity, these severe heat waves can causes crop failure, a drain on power that can cause outages from the over use of air conditioning, and possible death from dehydration and heat strokes. If you are in a heat wave the best actions to take is to stay indoors as much as possible, wear light color clothing if going outside, drink plenty of water (avoid caffeine or alcohol), and avoid strenuous activity to keep your body cool.

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Being Prepared!

Several weeks into hurricane season and the Atlantic seems to be quiet for now, but you and your family should always be prepared in case of emergencies! Knowing the difference between watches and warnings, help make decisions of what you and your family should do in case of a hurricane situation. A hurricane watch, should trigger your families hurricane disaster plan and protective measures should be initiated. A hurricane watch is issued for areas that could possible experience hurricane conditions within 36 hours. Now, if the National Weather Service issues a hurricane warning this mean that sustained winds of at least 74 mph are expected within 24 hours. Once this warning is issued your family should take immediate action and travel to safety.
Even before watches and warnings come into effect, it is important to talk with your family and loved ones about possible plans in case of emergencies, make an evacuation plan, have a disaster kit, and have a check list before you leave your home. First thing is first, having an evacuation plan is important with this plan you should have a map and phone numbers of family or friends you plan to evacuate to or have a list of phone numbers to hotels in several different locations that maybe far enough out of the hurricanes path. Next, have a disaster supply kit ready, this should include several important items listed below:
-Water (at least 1 gallon daily per person for 3 days)
-Food (enough for 3 days worth include non-perishable packaged or canned foods)
-First Aid Kit
-Radio (Batteries)
-Clothing (rain gear, rain shoes)
-Important Documents
- Set of tools
A check list is another great item to have ready in case of an emergency, this list should include getting your evacuation plan in the car, along with your disaster supply kit, and secure your home. When you secure your home try and make it disaster resistant by boarding up windows securing valuables, and turn off your gas. Also, another great way to protect your house well in advance, is to talk with your homeowners insurance to make sure it covers flood damage.
Being prepared ahead of time is key in emergency situations, less time you spend getting ready to leave in an evacuation the faster you can get to safety! And always remember that its great to have a radio, weather radio, cell phone and laptop computer handy to keep you and your family updated on the storm!

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Delmarva Severe Weather: Saturday June 13th

Scattered strong to severe storms broke out Saturday afternoon over Delmarva. Earlier in the afternoon strong thunderstorms developed over the southern Chesapeake Bay and Virginia's eastern shore. A waterspout (tornado over water) was reported at Somers Cove Marine in Crisfield, MD at 1:15 pm. The waterspout was located just outside the marina basin in the Little Annemessex River and lasted about 5 minutes.

Here is a photo taken by Dockhand Linda Wilmer.

Later that afternoon a severe thunderstorm developed and tracked through Southwestern Kent County, DE and Sussex County, DE. The storm acquired rotation and prompted a tornado warning. The storm had 80 mph wind gusts, large hail, and funnel clouds reported. Numerous property, crop, and tree damage occurred from this storm. Below is the link to the National Weather Service's storm survey on this event. The survey includes details on the storm, damage, and additional photos.
Here is a tree damage photo taken from Rick Szutenbach in Greenwood, DE after the storm. Just imagine how strong the winds were to be able to uproot a tree that size.

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Rainfall Totals 2009

Overall, the start of 2009 along the Eastern Shore has been very dry, and well below average in the way of rainfall for the year! However, the month of May in Salisbury has received the most rainfall than any other month this year so far, coming in with 5.18" of precipitation. Also, in just the first ten days of June, rainfall is already up to 2.73". That is a total of 7.91" of rainfall since the first of May and the total rainfall for the year so far is 15.19". So, the entire month of May and 10 days in June poured in over half of the rainfall for the year in just 41 days. The average rainfall total for the year is 20.75", however, still below average by 5.56" but much closer to the average precipitation amounts than Salisbury has had in months! Hopefully, Salisbury can break the rain deficit by the end of June, and with the current weather pattern keeping a chance of rain showers in the forecast it just might be possible!

Monday, June 8, 2009

Hurricane Survival Show

The 2009 National Hurricane Survival Show will air this summer on WMDT 47 and Delmarva's CW 3. The show will provide information and tips for hurricane awareness and safety issues. This is an important program to watch to educate you and your family incase a tropical system strikes the area. The Atlantic hurricane season runs from June 1 - November 30. This year the official NOAA tropical outlook is for a near-average hurricane season. This does not mean a tropical system will or will not make landfall for sure on Delmarva.

Below are the air days and times of the show:

Friday, June 12th @ 2pm on Delmarva's CW3
Sunday, June 14th @ 3pm on WMDT 47
Saturday, July 11th @ 3:30pm on WMDT 47
Sunday, July 26th @ 10am on Delmarva's CW3
Monday, August 17th @12:30 pm on Delmarva's CW3
Sunday, August 23rd @4:30pm on WMDT 47

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

Lightning Safety

Most people do not realize how dangerous lightning can be, an average of 62 fatalities in the United States occur each year and hundreds of others were seriously injured. Thunderstorms form from the result of buildup & a discharge of electrical energy between negatively charged areas which is the bottom of the cloud and positively charged areas which are items on Earth, it basically static electricity. Here are a few tips to know about thunderstorms: if you hear thunder you are close enough to be struck by lightning! Lightning occurs with all thunderstorms, no matter what! Most people think that lightning that they can see but not hear is "heat lightning", there is no such thing! "Heat lightning" is just a thunderstorm far away that you just can't hear yet, this could be headed your way! Another safety tip, if your hair stands on end or your skin begins to tingle, make yourself the smallest object and do the lightning safety crouch, you need to get low to the ground on the balls of your feet, place your hands on your knees with your head between them. Always seek shelter when you hear thunder, do not stand under trees, get out of the water even if you are boating, do not take a bath or shower, and stay off the phone unless an emergency!

For more lightning safety tips visit the National Weather Service: