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With More Severe Weather Ahead this Week, AccuWeather Warns Mississippi Valley Residents, Businesses to Plan Now and Avoid Death, Injury, Destruction

March 08, 2019; 3:38 PM

When severe weather spins up quickly, a trusted weather partner provides the most accurate weather warnings, helps businesses develop an emergency action plan with the confidence to know when to enact it.

Said Jonathan Porter, "It is still early in the season with many more storms anticipated, and it only takes one destructive severe weather event to wreak havoc on a family, a home, a business or a community." 

AccuWeather Global Weather Center - March 8, 2019 - Tornadoes slammed into communities in Alabama, Georgia and Florida on Sunday, March 3rd, claiming the lives of at least 23 people, aged 6 to 89, and causing injury to over 100 in addition to widespread damage to property. With a new round of severe storms expected to threaten the Mississippi Valley this weekend and the risk for more severe thunderstorms later next week, AccuWeather expert meteorologists caution the time is now to put a proactive weather safety plan in place to minimize risk and protect people and property from death, destruction and injury.

"It is still early in the season with more storms anticipated, and it only takes one destructive severe weather event to wreak havoc on a family, a home, a business or a community," said Jonathan Porter, Senior Meteorologist and Vice President and General Manager of AccuWeather Enterprise Solutions. "Last Sunday's storms showed just how many lives were changed forever in an instant in the communities impacted by severe weather. We are anticipating a very active weather pattern over the next week and beyond; people and business must pay attention, track storm developments and develop an action plan to avoid the personal tragedies that these dangerous storms caused."

Tornado before and after

These before-and-after photos show a house and trailer in Beauregard, Alabama, that were completely blown off their foundations after an EF4 tornado struck on Sunday. AccuWeather's Reed Timmer said the occupants survived. (Before: Google Earth; After: AP Photo/David Goldman)

Both the government weather service and the private weather enterprise are working together to continually improve lead times and communications of warnings for catastrophic severe weather events to protect people, property and business. Last Sunday, for example, The National Weather Service (NWS) and AccuWeather provided at least 20 minutes of advanced notice before last weekend's dangerous storms, allowing people a larger window of time to get to safety. The weather industry partners with NWS to get its advanced warnings into the hands of the general public and businesses quickly as well as provides unique insights on the impacts of severe weather tailored for a particular business or industry, including highlighting the risk for severe weather and tornadoes days in advance to meet their specialized needs. Users of AccuWeather's free app, for example, receive NWS warnings immediately after they are issued.

For businesses, Porter advises when hazardous weather threatens, working with a trusted weather partner who can provide the best, most accurate weather insights - communicated early and clearly, developing a tailored plan that meets the unique needs of each business or organization and having the confidence of knowing when to enact it are key to protecting people and property. And with more threatening weather looming this weekend, safety action planning must be a priority.

In Cairo, Georgia, a southeastern municipality of 9,733 people still recovering from damage sustained during Hurricane Michael only five months ago, a powerful tornado with 120 mph winds tore through the downtown Sunday. While there were no deaths or injuries reported in Cairo, there were many reports of roofs ripped from homes, bricks sheared off building exteriors, downed trees, street lights and power poles as well as other significant damage to homes and businesses.  Residents and public officials reported that streets were littered with twisted pieces of tin and other dangerous debris. Cairo Mayor Booker T. Gainor noted in several media interviews how suddenly the storm came and how quickly it left.

AccuWeather issued its first tornado warning to its business customers in the Cairo area at 6:20 pm CST, providing 37 minutes of valuable lead time to enact emergency plans, stop operations that would be impacted by the storm, secure property if necessary, and get people to safety. Separate tornadoes touched down in Gadsen County, Florida with dangerous, swirling winds of 100 mph. AccuWeather issued warnings 20 minutes in advance. The extra time to prepare provided uniquely by AccuWeather enabled more time for people to get to shelter and in a more orderly fashion.

So often in emergencies from severe weather, the circumstances dictate quick evacuations and other scenarios that without adequate notice can result in rushing, chaos, injury and confusion. The more advance notice ahead of the impending severe weather, the safer and smoother emergency plans are implemented without incident. Last Sunday's storms, such as the storm in Cairo, were moving very fast, 60 mph in some cases, which makes advanced warning time even more critical and valuable. The thunderstorms AccuWeather predicts for this coming week underscore the need for proactive warnings.

Several AccuWeather clients received notice about the coming storms from AccuWeather and immediately put emergency plans into action. "Many of our business clients conduct operations outdoors and are subject to the elements, and as their weather partner, we help them develop a plan to protect people and minimize risk," said Porter.  "When we alerted our clients in the impacted areas to this potential disaster, they heeded the warning, took the advised precautions, and as a result, no one was hurt, and their businesses did not suffer, safely commencing operations with minimal disruptions once we gave them the ‘all clear.'"

Porter added that clients tell AccuWeather time and again how much they value the proactive warnings as well as the real-time situational awareness provided after a storm, so they can better understand what damage was reported near their locations.  He said AccuWeather's new mobile app for business customers has proven to be a popular in-demand tool that uniquely delivers push notifications during a weather emergency to designated staff members who need to make decisions quickly.

Said Porter, "AccuWeather has been in the prediction business for 57 years and has found that the powerful combination of utilizing all the tools and reliable indicators available, including the expertise of our over 100 operational meteorologists, results in predictions with the greatest accuracy. Accuracy is foundational for helping businesses consider the impacts unique to them and then formulating a plan based on the specified parameters to activate that plan.

"Our seasonal forecasts are in high demand conveying relatable, actionable insights to people and business globally in a way that is most useful, so they can make the critical decisions they need to make. In this case, we are so pleased that our clients had the foresight to invest in emergency contingency planning for severe weather which resulted in zero casualties."

AccuWeather released its long-range tornado forecast for 2019 on February 27th.  In it, AccuWeather predicted that the 2019 tornado season is expected to produce 9 percent more tornadoes than in 2018 but will result in fewer tornadoes than the long-term average for the season overall. The company urges people and business, especially in tornado-prone areas, to act now to prevent loss of life, harm and reduce risk while it is still early in the season when tornadoes are most likely to occur. While this year AccuWeather's forecast calls for a concentration of tornadoes in states that traditionally experience tornado activity, including Oklahoma, Kansas, and parts of Texas and Nebraska, as well as more frequent tornado activity and other severe weather in the Plains, which has not been the case for at least the last three years, Porter says no one should assume that weather is not a threat simply because it is an unusual risk for a particular location or season or because someone has been in business for decades without a severe weather-related incident.

About AccuWeather, Inc. and AccuWeather.com

AccuWeather, recognized and documented as the most accurate source of weather forecasts and warnings in the world has saved tens of thousands of lives, prevented hundreds of thousands of injuries and tens of billions of dollars in property damage. With global headquarters in State College, PA and other offices around the world, AccuWeather serves more than 1.5 billion people daily to help them plan their lives and get more out of their day through radio, television, newspapers, smart phones, tablets, connected TVs, the AccuWeather Network and AccuWeather.com. Additionally, AccuWeather produces and distributes news, weather content, and video for more than 180,000 third-party websites. Among AccuWeather's many innovative and award-winning features available free to the public are MinuteCast® Minute by Minute™ forecasts with Superior Accuracy™.  Furthermore, AccuWeather serves more than half of the Fortune 500 companies and thousands of businesses globally. Dr. Joel N. Myers, Founder and Chief Executive Officer, established AccuWeather in 1962 and is considered the "father of modern commercial meteorology." Dr. Myers, a leading creative thinker and visionary, has been named "the most accurate man in weather" by The New York Times and one of the top entrepreneurs in American history by Entrepreneur's Encyclopedia of Entrepreneurs.

AccuWeather™, AccuWeather RealImpact™, AccuWeather RI™, AccuWeather MinuteCast®, Minute by Minute™ and Superior Accuracy™ are all trademarks of AccuWeather, Inc.

The AccuWeather app for Android phone and tablet users is free at the Google Play store. The AccuWeather iOS app is free at www.AppStore.com. Visit accuweather.com for additional information.


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