Are you in Alabama or any of the other areas hit by what may have been the largest recorded tornado event in US history? Let us know how you are.

I have calls and emails out to friends in the region or links there and have not heard much back yet. In case you haven’t heard, the storm related death toll from last night’s swarm of well over 100 tornadoes (about 150 unconfirmed being reported now) has risen fro 178 to about 200 people over the last hour as rescue workers comb through utter devastation in Alabama and other areas of the south. Today, tornadoes are expected in other areas of the south and east, so if you live in that area, be aware. (Info)

There are two kinds of weather radio that I recommend, but anything is probably better than nothing. For a desktop that has all the bells and whistles and gets good reception, I recommend the desktop style Midland WR300 Weather Radio. I’ve never owned this model but I’ve owned similar ones, and this is the most positively recommended radio. Some of the “consumer radio” styles you get at the grocery store are a cheaper version of this one, and they are probably fine. This radio does have S.A.M.E. technology as well as AM/FM, clock, alarm, etc. It has a battery backup (4 AA).

My weather radio is a Walkie-Talkie like Midland HH54VP2 Portable Emergency Weather Radio. The reception could be better, but we have strong stations so this is not a big problem. I got the portable because I will simply pull it out of its charging cradle and drop it in the travel kit when going to the Cabin. I’ll probably drop the charging cradle in the charging kit as well, because a weather radio only works if it is on all the time, and that uses up batteries. (Our travel kit seems to contain mainly battery chargers and chargers or transformers for devices anyway.) This small hand held will serve us well when we go to the cabin (crossing the paths of various tornadoes, as usual) in my car (Amanda’ car has a weather radio built in, but that’s not the vehicle we usually use to go up north.)

Here in the Twin Cities we’ve been complaining about cold weather and even snow (we had snow last night!) but starting late Friday the higher energy and warmer weather patterns that have been bringing so much damage to the South will start to shift, intermittently, north.

More information about tornadoes here.


  1. #1 Stephanie Z
    April 28, 2011

    I think I’ve heard from everybody I know in Tennessee. I’ve heard from some of the Georgia skeptics, and more importantly, nobody is raising a fuss about people they haven’t heard from in the badly damaged areas.

    I rather like this Twitter thing.

  2. #2 Art
    April 28, 2011

    Presently, as I type, a line of storms strong enough to produce tornadoes is marching across Florida from the panhandle to the Jacksonville, specifically Mayport.

    I highly recommend reasonable precautions, and obtaining a good weather radio, to pretty much everyone. There simply isn’t any place in the US that doesn’t get severe weather.

  3. #3 anon
    April 29, 2011

    Universal Radio, a long-established amateur radio equipment dealer, has some weather radios, weather measuring equipment, and information about NOAA and Canadian weather stations here:

  4. #4 nancy brownlee
    April 30, 2011

    Okay, Imma just tell you why weather radios stink on ice: because they go off, LOUDLY, waking you from a sound sleep, not just for tornadoes and hurricanes which are bearing down on you and putting you in immediate danger. They also go of for flash flood warnings in the next county, high wind warnings on area lakes, severe thunderstorm warnings for an area which is a couple hundred miles away… I live in north Texas and I’ve seen more tornadoes than you’ve had tacos, and I bought a weather radio. Three days later I but it in the Goodwill bin.

  5. #5 Greg Laden
    April 30, 2011

    Nancy, imma let you finish complaining about weather radios, but first I gotta tell you that the S.A.M.E. technology reduces this annoyance by allowing you to chose a smaller area of coverage.

  6. #6 nancy brownlee
    April 30, 2011

    Oh, YAY! I will look for it- because in this part of the world, spring and summer tornado watches occur several times a week, and no one even stops ordering delivery pizza until we get a tornado warning. I wish I could have a weather radio that would let me choose to not get flash flood warnings- my entire county has 3 low-water crossings.