Heat Waves, Derechos and More: Where to Get the Most Up-to-date Weather Information

By Rich Steeves July 02, 2012

It has been a rough week, weather-wise, for most of the continental United States. First, there were raging wildfires in Colorado, due in large part to the dried-out conditions in that state. Then much of the country was slammed with a massive heat wave, with temperatures topping 100 degrees in many areas. And, to top it off, a so-called “land hurricane,” also known as a “derecho,” hit Illinois, Ohio, Kentucky, West Virginia, Virginia, Maryland, New Jersey and Washington, DC.

All-in-all, it’s been a pretty miserable start to the summer.

But if you are fortunate enough to have power, there are some great online resources you can use to learn about the weather events affecting the country. And, of course, in this case, knowledge is power.

Derechos: Many of us had not heard the term until recently, but they are in fact a fairly common phenomenon. A derecho is a widespread, long-lived wind storm associated with a band of rapidly moving showers and thunderstorms. It can produce destruction similar to that of a tornado, though usually in one direction along a fairly straight path. It’s that straight path that gave the occurrence the name “derecho,” which is Spanish for “straight ahead.” To learn more about derechos, check out the Storm Prevention Center website, which has facts about the origin, composition, strength and history of derechos.

The National Weather Service: If you want specific information about weather from a trusted source, be sure to check out the National Weather Service website. It gives a graphical representation of the temperature across the 50 states, with information on warnings and forecasts, air quality and more. You can get warnings by state or county, so you’ll have up-to-date information on any potential problems that may affect your hometown or the hometown of any of your loved ones. You can also get information about UV alerts and air quality warnings in addition to warnings about thunderstorms, tornadoes, hurricanes and other dangerous storms.

State and Local Government Websites: In this day and age, one of the best ways to disseminate information is through the Web, and many citizens are turning to state and local government websites  to get the latest information on weather events. After a state of emergency was declared in West Virginia, for example, its website gave the latest scoop on power outages – essential information for people planning on how to get by without air conditioning. And it’s not just state government sites that have vital info. The derecho has caused major power outages in the District of Columbia, and many government workers are being encouraged to stay home to avoid congestion on roads that may not have working traffic lights. In this case, the Department of Homeland Security and Emergency Management Agency website had the most comprehensive coverage of the news related to the latest weather events.

So whether you are nice and cool in your air conditioned home or office, or if you are one of the people most impacted by this difficult weather, be aware that there are many great resources out there to give you the information you need to stay safe and comfortable until this blows over – and then we worry about nor’easters…

Want to learn more about the latest in communications and technology? Then be sure to attend ITEXPO West 2012, taking place Oct. 2-5, in Austin, TX. ITEXPO offers an educational program to help corporate decision makers select the right IP-based voice, video, fax and unified communications solutions to improve their operations. It's also where service providers learn how to profitably roll out the services their subscribers are clamoring for – and where resellers can learn about new growth opportunities. For more information on registering for ITEXPO click here.

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Edited by Rachel Ramsey

TechZone360 Web Editor

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