The sky is falling!Remember the old folk tale about Chicken Little, who panicked after an acorn hit her in the head and ran around telling everyone “the sky is falling”? Her knee-jerk reaction caused several others along the way to panic right along with her, and they all decided to run off and tell the king that the sky was falling. It was an irrational reaction to
By: Wendy Johnson, Pine Journal
Remember the old folk tale about Chicken Little, who panicked after an acorn hit her in the head and ran around telling everyone “the sky is falling”? Her knee-jerk reaction caused several others along the way to panic right along with her, and they all decided to run off and tell the king that the sky was falling.
It was an irrational reaction to a very ordinary circumstance, but just a little bit of misguided information resulted in mass pandemonium.
While we all acknowledge that folk tales aren’t necessarily seated in reality, sometimes the moral of such a tale hits a little too close to home for comfort.
Next week is “Severe Weather Awareness Week” in Minnesota. It’s one of those weeks we hear about every year, but the temptation is to only give it lip service. After all, we live in Minnesota and we pretty much know what our weather is like by now, right?
But when the simulated tornado warning is sounded at 1 p.m. next Thursday, April 19, and again at 6:55 p.m. that night, will you know what you should do if that warning was for real? Likely most of us will be in our places of work when the first one sounds, and in our homes, on the playing field, driving down the freeway, or possibly having dinner in a fast-food restaurant at the time of the second. Would you know how to protect yourself and your family in any or all of those circumstances? What if your son is at baseball practice, your daughter is at dance lessons, and you’re somewhere in between? Would you know how to get in contact with them to find out if they’re safe?
According to Brian Belich, Carlton County emergency management director, knowing the appropriate safety actions could help save lives, prevent injuries and protect property. Belich points to the website of the Minnesota Department of Public Safety, Division of Homeland Security/Emergency Management, at www.severeweather.state.mn.us as a useful source in mapping out your own personal plan. The National Weather Service Office in Duluth also has an informative website at www.crh.noaa.gov/dlh.
There are a number of real-time weather alert services (some of them are free) which send out weather warnings, watches, alerts, and other advisories as soon as they are issued by federal agencies including the National Weather Service. Alerts are sent to subscribers in the warned areas via text messages and e-mail. One such service can be researched at http://www.weatherusa.net/alerts.
Also, there is an intriguing new option that many of you might want to take advantage of by participating in the National Weather Service Skywarn Training Program April 26 at the Carlton County Transportation Building, 1630 County Highway 61, in Carlton, beginning at 6:30 p.m.
The training is offered free of charge and is open to the general public.
The program provides training to volunteers in the detection and reporting of life-threatening thunderstorms – those that contain large hail, damaging winds, and tornadoes.
Participants will study the meteorological dynamics involved in thunderstorm production and what it takes for a storm to produce damaging winds, large hail, and tornadoes. They’ll also learn how to detect signs to look for in spotting severe weather, such as types of clouds associated with severe weather, funnels and rotation. Finally, they’ll learn procedures for reporting information to the National Weather Service as well as practical advice on thunderstorm and tornado safety.
In this day and age of instant messaging and “real time” reporting, think how valuable it would be to have a trained corps of volunteers who know what to look for and what to do when severe weather approaches. What better way to combat “the sky is falling” mentality, and safeguard the health and wellbeing of our neighbors?
(Editor’s note: For more information on the Skywarn Training Program, contact Belich at 218-384-9518.)
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