How is the public notified about hurricanes and tornadoes?

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by Evan Stewart

WVEC.com

Posted on March 10, 2010 at 5:47 PM

Updated Tuesday, May 31 at 2:43 PM

If there is any good thing about hurricanes, it's that we generally see them coming. Usually, we are able to issue public advisories far enough in advance to prevent loss of life from hurricanes. That being said, hurricanes are very unpredictable, and you should not be lulled into a sense of complacency if a storm is predicted to miss us.

Tornadoes are a different story entirely. They can develop very quickly and often government and media are not able to get the word out in time to everyone. When conditions are right for tornadoes to develop, a tornado watch is issued, and it's a good idea to keep an eye on the weather.

The point is, whether it's hurricanes, tornadoes, thunderstorms, or floods, information is the key, and today, there are a number of ways for you to receive this information.

The most obvious is to tune to your local TV or radio station. In the case of WVEC, we have our own staff of meteorologists and weather hardware, combined with the resources of ABC, CNN, the National Weather Service, and various other weather resources at our disposal.

In addition, television and radio stations are connected to the Emergency Alert System (EAS, formerly the EBS, or Emergency Broadcast System). When it's triggered, severe weather and important news bulletins are broadcast immediately.

Another popular way for the public to get on-demand information is the Internet. Our website has an extensive section on hurricanes, with the latest satellite and radar imagery, storm forecasts, current weather warnings, even live data feeds from offshore ocean buoys. This information is updated automatically, meaning as soon as storm reports as issued by the National Hurricane Center, they are available on our website. In fact, when hurricanes threaten Hampton Roads, our website receives extremely high amounts of traffic from people seeking hurricane information.

Another excellent resource is the NOAA Weather Radio service. A specially designed radio will alert you to a weather warning, as well as give you updated National Weather Service forecasts. They are available at most Radio Shacks for about $30, and most have the advantage of being battery operated so you can use them if you lose power.

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