WeatherGuide Fayetteville 2011 : Page 26

BE PREPARED IN ANY EXTREME WEATHER SITUATION “ Extreme Weather breaks down the science behind extreme weather events and gives people valuable advice on what to do before, during and after mother nature’s most terrifying situations.” —Reed Timmer, Meteorologist / Storm Chaser and host of the television show “Storm Chasers” on the Discovery Channel “Natural disasters and extreme weather are real events that many people don’t think about until it’s too late. In this book, Bonnie describes extreme weather and natural disasters and provides specifi c preparedness tips. The valuable informa-tion in this book could save a life!” —Donna Franklin, NOAA’s Lightning Safety Program Lead “This is a book to read on a calm night when there’s hardly a breeze and the skies are clear. It will remain with you in vivid detail, and someday, when the weather turns tumultu-ous, this book could save your life.” —Jeffrey Zaslow, coauthor, The Last Lecture BONNIE SCHNEIDER is a weather anchor for CNN, appearing on CNN Domestic, Headline News (HLN), CNN Radio and CNN.com. Schneider has been awarded the American Meteorological Society’s Seal of Approval for achieving the highest standard of excellence in both technical weather knowledge and communication skills. Available now for pre-order. In bookstores everywhere January 31, 2012. For more information please visit www.BonnieWeather.com

Rip Currents

Be aware of this potential danger in the water.<br /> <br /> What is a “rip current”?<br /> <br /> Rip currents are powerful, channeled currents of water rushing away from shore. When excess water comes on shore, it digs or rips a trench in the sand below as it retreats back toward the horizon. The heavy force of that water pushing backward out to sea, is the rip current. They can begin in the surf zone near the beach and dangerously extend for hundreds of feet away from the shore. Their width can be as narrow as 10 or 20 feet, or up to 10 times wider. Rip currents can occur at any beach with breaking waves, including the Great Lakes. Rip currents most typically form at low spots or breaks in sandbars, and also near structures such as groins, jetties and piers. Rip currents are not rip tides. Even though the terms are mistakenly used interchangeably, they are caused by different phenomena. The correct term to use is rip currents, according to NOAA and the USLA (The United States Life Saving Association).<br /> <br /> How does the flow of a rip current move?<br /> <br /> Rip current speeds can vary. Sometimes they are too slow to be considered dangerous. However, under certain wave, tide and beach conditions, the speeds can quickly become dangerous. Rip currents have been measured to exceed 5 mph—slower than you can run but faster than you or even an Olympic swimmer can swim. In some cases, they have been measured as fast as 8 feet per second. This is faster than the speed at which an Olympic swimmer can swim a 50-meter sprint.<br /> <br /> Rip currents can be killers. The United States Lifesaving Association estimates that the annual number of deaths due to rip currents on our nation’s beaches exceeds 100. Rip currents account for more than 80 percent of rescues performed by surf beach lifeguards, according to the United States Lifeguarding Association.<br /> <br /> Tips from NOAA on Rip Current Safety<br /> <br /> First, learn how to swim!<br /> <br /> When at the beach:<br /> <br /> Whenever possible, swim at a lifeguard-protected beach.<br /> <br /> Never swim alone.<br /> <br /> Learn how to swim in the surf. It’s not the same as swimming in a pool or lake.<br /> <br /> Be cautious at all times, especially when swimming at unguarded beaches. If in doubt, don’t go out.<br /> <br /> Obey all instructions and orders from lifeguards.Lifeguards are trained to identify potential hazards.Ask a lifeguard about the conditions before entering the water. This is part of their job.<br /> <br /> Stay at least 100 feet away from piers and jetties.Permanent rip currents often exist alongside these structures.<br /> <br /> Consider using polarized sunglasses when at the beach. They will help you to spot signatures of rip currents by cutting down glare and reflected sunlight off the ocean’s surface.<br /> <br /> Pay especially close attention to children and elderly when at the beach. Even in shallow water, wave action can cause loss of footing.<br /> <br /> 1. Contact the local emergency management office to learn about the most likely natural disasters to strike your area.<br /> <br /> 2. Do a personal assessment. Seniors should know what they can or can’t do before, during and after a disaster. Make a list of those needs and the resources that can meet them.<br /> <br /> 3. Schedule a family meeting to assess your needs in an emergency and develop a plan of action. Include in your plan neighbors, friends, relatives and professional caregivers who could help.<br /> <br /> 4. Assemble a portable disaster kit with essential supplies, as well as photocopies of key identification, a health card, and legal documents.<br /> The kit should have three days of non-perishable food and water, plus an additional four days of food and water readily accessible at home.<br /> <br /> 5. Label every piece of equipment or personal item in your kit.<br /> <br /> 6. Have at least two escape routes – one out of the home in case of fire when you must get out quickly, and one out of the area in case you must evacuate the local community. Designate a place to meet other relatives or key support network people outside the home.<br /> <br /> 7. Know when to go to a safer place or to stay where you are, and how to make the decision. In the case of evacuation, older adults should go sooner rather than later.<br /> <br /> 8. Know where to get information during an emergency, either through TV or radio. Have a battery-operated radio on hand. Special alarms are available for people with medical conditions, such as a strobe alarm for the hearing-impaired.<br /> <br /> 9. Make a list of key phone numbers that includes people on your support network, as well as doctors and other health-care professionals.<br /> <br /> 10. Call a professional caregiver if you need assistance.

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