When Severe Weather is Forecasted

What should you do when severe weather is forecasted?

When severe weather has been outlooked and forecasted in Middle Tennessee, the best thing you can do is be prepared before the weather arrives. Having a game plan and knowing what to do is vital in protecting you, your family, and your property.

Spring time is a big severe weather season for Middle Tennessee, and it is frequent that we receive severe weather during late February, March, April, and most of May. Another smaller severe weather season happens in Middle Tennessee during late October through the end of November.

Preparations the day before Severe Weather.

If severe weather has been forecasted and announced, it is important to start taking steps at that moment to make sure you are ready for any severe weather event. Below is a list of to-do’s to prep for severe weather.

  • Discuss a safety plan and safe spot with your family in the event you need to take shelter. Run through drills with your family (especially with children) to make sure everyone gets to their safe spot.
  • Secure any personal property outside of your home. Put up and secure anything that the wind could carry away or damage. Put patio furniture, grills, etc away to limit any potential damage.

Preparations the day of Severe Weather

When severe weather is within about 12-16 hours away, it is important to start taking precautions when severe weather arrives.

  • Keep your cell phone fully charged and on a charger at all times if possible. This place should be close to where you spend most of your time during the day (your desk/work station at work, at home in the living room or where you will likely be).
  • Enable emergency alerts on your smartphone. The National Weather Service has a nice write-up about these alerts and how to make sure they are activated on your phone. These alerts will come in on your phone based on the location of your phone (and you) – not your home. Thus, if you are at work with your phone, these alerts will appear should they impact you at that moment while you are at work.
  • Have your weather radio handy and in operation.
  • If at all possible, stay tuned to local weather stations such as News 2, Channel 4, News Channel 5 and Fox 17 to watch for breaking news weather alerts. These stations almost always interrupt programming when severe weather is in the area.
  • Check the radar every so often, and even more often when severe weather is in Middle Tennessee. The Weather Channel and News Channel 5 have great radars that can be used on your desktop or on your phone.
  • Before leaving home to go to work or any other location, turn off sensitive electronics such as computers. Turn off surge protectors.

When Severe Weather is immediate

If severe weather is close to you or you are under a warning, take action right away. Below is a list of things to memorize so when severe weather is immediate to your location, you can take action.

  • SEVERE THUNDERSTORM WARNING: Get inside, stay away from windows, and stay alert. These warnings are issued for damaging winds and large hail. Keep your phone on you should the power go out.
  • TORNADO WARNING: Immediately seek shelter. Do not wait until you hear the “train” noise. DO NOT go outside to watch for a tornado. Take your phone and weather radio with you to your safe spot. Go to the lowest level of your home or work building, in the most interior part of your home (away from windows and outside walls). Cover yourself with blankets and pillows. If you have a motorcycle, bicycle, or sports helmet of any kind, it is a good idea to go ahead and wear that in your safe spot. Stay there until severe weather has passed and the warning has expired.

DicksonSevereWX’s role during Severe Weather

We are not meteorologists. We do this because we pay very close attention to severe weather when it comes into Middle Tennessee to keep us and our families safe. Over the years we’ve developed a hobby of watching for severe weather.

We are advanced trained storm spotters. We report directly to NWSNashville any severe weather we witness, which includes damage, hail, tornado (wall clouds, funnel clouds, tornadoes). Since NWSNashville can’t always see what happens on the ground (the radar doesn’t show them that information), trained storm spotters are their eyes to verify radar information. Information we relay to them is vital in issuing potentially life-saving warnings.

We are not storm chasers. We’ve been trained to spot storms and how to stay safe doing it. We do not go and seek out severe weather. We spot based on where we are located at that moment (be it home, work, etc.).

We highly encourage you review multiple reliable weather sources. While we do our best to relay the best information we can, you should also review reliable weather sources too, such as local news stations and their websites, NWSNashville on Twitter and Facebook, The Weather Channel, and radio stations that regularly broadcast forecasts and weather.

Our Twitter account is more up-to-date than our website here. While we do our best to keep our site current and up-to-date, Twitter is much more accurate. We can tweet and retweet very important information much faster than publishing it on this site. Follow us on Twitter at @DicksonSevereWx.

This page is brand new. It may feel a bit incomplete while we update and add to this page before, during, and after severe weather events. 

Last Updated: September 28, 2016.