Those New Forty readers in the areas of North Dakota and Minnesota who were under a tornado warning early this morning may feel a similar angst to that which I heard today from folks regarding the warning systems that sought to warn them of potential tornadoes in their area. It is a rare individual who enjoys being drawn from a deep sleep to address what may be an imminent threat. It is jarring and frightening, and there are few hazards more frightening (at least in my book) than a tornado.
Yet, it is a rarer individual who would tell you they didn’t want to know if they were possibly in harm’s way because a tornado could form at any moment. Folks want the information they need to make smart decisions about keeping themselves and their family safe. They want the subject matter experts to give them the best information available to inform their protective actions.
The angst comes in when folks are brought to high alert and the tornado does not materialize. Post-event (or as some might say, post-non-event), all the calls, texts, sirens, and weather radio alerts in the wee hours are just plain annoying to some folks. Some folks only want warnings when it is a “sure thing” and they don’t want to receive warnings from so many different systems. They view it as over-the-top and burdensome.
I understand this. Warnings coming in rapid fire from a variety of sources can be annoying and burdensome; but, and it is a big but, given that systems are known to fail from time to time, redundancy is actually a nice layer of protection that I personally would recommend. Those folks who are merely relying on one mechanism be it the sirens, CodeRed, weather alerts, or a weather radio will be out of the loop if the system they rely on malfunctions or fails.
Last night I received a weather alert in the 4 AM hour. The weather radio channel I use is currently down and being repaired so my weather radio never went off and I did not receive a call from CodeRed for some reason. I heard the sirens go off in West Fargo about 10 minutes after the alert, but I assure you I would not have heard them had I not been awake as they were hard to hear over the noise of the storm.
I did not get a lot of sleep last night and my wagon was draggin’ like so many other folks today. But you won’t hear me complain about any warnings I receive regardless of the number or time because I want to be given the time and information to keep my family safe. Even if no tornado materializes I do not view my lost sleep or an anxious hour or two as a waste of time. Thank goodness there was no tornado. There could have been one given the conditions. This morning instead of just being tired we could have been facing a much more horrific reality wherein people we know had been injured or killed.
Warnings are a necessary evil and you are smart to layer in as many systems to warn you as possible because systems can and will fail. It is difficult to know with certainty when and where a tornado will hit, but one thing we know for sure is that warnings often give the few minutes needed to help save lives. Complain if you will about the warnings, but I promise you, you will treasure those warnings the day they save your life and the lives of your family members.
Day one thousand five hundred and twenty of the new forty – obla di obla da