A very powerful storm system has moved in over the Midwest in the US, packing winds up to 70 miles per hour with one reported tornado already touching down and damaging buildings near Racine, Wisconsin. The tornado touched down near 21st Street and Green Bay in Racine. The Case Corp. Building in Racine suffered damage as a 200 foot section of the roof was torn way. There are other reports coming out of Racine of residential damage as well. So far no injuries have been reported.
Dangerous winds grounded hundreds of flights at O’Hare International Airport in Chicago. The heavy winds also interrupted shipping traffic on the Great Lakes overnight as the massive storm system whipped the midwestern portion of the US. The intense low pressure system reached levels equivalent to a category 2 or 3 hurricane as it barreled through this region of the country ripping off roofs and downing trees and power lines. Tornadoes can easily develop in this type of weather as thunderstorms can organize into bands that can bring on the twisters as well as very damaging periods of extremely high winds.
Already this storm is set to be the 2nd most severe on record for the Midwest as it is knocking out power to thousands in its path. This storm has brought with it high winds, hail and tornadoes – which is pretty much everything a heavy storm can consist of in the US. The central pressure of this unusual storm is what is making it so powerful as it is one of the lowest ever recorded in the Northern Hemisphere, so says a meteorologist working for MDA EarthSat Weather Inc. in Rockville, Maryland. The upper atmosphere wind speeds of this storm are more than 100 mph which is really incredible. This storm is not a six or seven hour wind event but rather is expected to carry on for a couple of days.
The National Weather Service issued a tornado watch for southern lower Michigan. The watch area is very large, consisting of 100 miles east and west of a line that is twenty-five miles southwest of Jackson to thirty miles east/northeast of Houghton Lake.
This storm is sure to break some long-standing records throughout the Midwest. You just don’t see storms of this magnitude traversing the nation’s mid-section very often. Some cities may record all time low surface barometric pressure before this monster dissipates.
Flooding is one of the most dreaded forms of natural disasters. Heavy downpours along with lashes of thunderstorms and floods can make a lot of people panic, as they scurry for their lives; as their property are submerged in the rainwater. It has been seen that most deaths due to floods tend to happen at night; when it may become difficult for people to focus on high flowing waters and judge which area would be safer for them to move.
Drowning is the number one cause of deaths due to flooding, mostly occurring due to the unexpected dangers caused by flash floods. One of the main things to bear in mind when you are evacuating or while you are trying to walk your way to safety like a hotel or a home, is to walk the high terrain and abandon the low-lying ground. You can make use of a stick or a pole to tap and find the ground that is relatively hard and above the waters.
Another thing that one should know is that most people in the US have died in their vehicles during flooding. So as a rule, never take your car in a flood prone area. Listen to the directions given by authorities and comply. Also if your car is struck, it is better to leave it and move to high ground. Electrocution sadly, is one of the fastest killers in floods. Electricity runs quickly through water. In case, you come across any downed power line, you should notify about this to the utility company or your local emergency manager. Do not turn electric appliances like the iron, TV set etc if they have become wet. Make sure you show them to a repair company or have a specialized technician to open them, clean the parts, dry them and then put them back before you can actually switch them back on.
Just like you have to be careful with electric appliances, you have to maintain a strict vigil for gas leaks. Use a flashlight to find out if there are any damages. Do not light candles, open flame or even smoke unless you are 100 percent sure that the gas has been turned off.
During the nights, when there are floods, small animals and insects may come out of their holes and seek shelter in your homes, which is another reason why being proactive with home maintenance (sealing cracks, holes and having good gutters) can help minimize potential property damages. Flood waters mix with sewage and chemicals from farms and factories and bring in a lot of chemicals that can contaminate your food, medicines and cosmetics. So if you are in doubt, it is better to throw them away. Only eat food that is in sealed containers. Flood recovery is also another responsibility that you have to handle because family members can be affected in a varied manner. It can be quite an experience to go through and some of them may experience stress an anxiety for months. Having a disaster plan in advance if you stay in a flood prone area can definitely help and having a local flood cleanup company on auto dial is also a recomendation to speed up recovery efforts following a water damage disaster.