NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WTVF) — Climate change is leading to warmer winters across the Mid-State. This season La Nina conditions are also in place, which increases the likelihood of a "warmer" trend this winter.
If you have a hunch that a warmer winter might mean a more wicked winter — you are right. When La Nina conditions are in place it tends to increase our risk for both severe thunderstorms and tornadoes, especially in the late winter to early spring months. Half of the deadliest tornado outbreaks in Tennessee occurred during the La Nina years.
There are two simple steps you can take to keep you and your family safe when severe weather threatens. The first is to make sure you have multiple ways to get weather information. A NOAA weather radio and our Storm Shield App are both great resources. The second step is to know where you'll go if a warning is issued.
The safest place is the lowest most interior room of a sturdy shelter. Mobile homes are not safe options, so if severe weather is forecast you should plan to shelter in an alternate location.
A basement is one of the best structures to shelter in. If a basement is not an option, a bathroom or interior closet on the lowest level can be a good choice. If you live on an upper level of an apartment building or high rise, try to find a shelter on a lower level. Often management will open up ground floor offices, or interior stairwells during severe weather. Sheltering with your neighbors on lower levels is a safer option than sheltering on an upper floor.
If you are in a vehicle, pull over and seek shelter in a sturdy building, never shelter under an overpass. Wind speeds increase under bridges and increase your danger. The goal is to put as many walls between you and the outside world as possible. Stay low in your shelter and cover your head with your hands.
It's important to identify your shelter in all areas you do life in (work, school, at home, etc.) Make sure you practice your plan with your family so all members feel confident that they know what to do when the weather is at its worst.