This is the first widespread severe storm of the season in Kansas. No more, no less.
The national media (see below) have been throwing out the dreaded “O” word — outbreak — for a week. In a couple words…nope, it ain’t that. As Mark Bogner mentions in the briefing for May 2nd, it wasn’t too many years ago the risk on Wednesday would have been listed as “slight” not “enhanced.” I admit to overdoing the graphics for Wednesday by one step when I generated them Monday morning…and as the day gets closer, it looks less and less like a potential outbreak and more like a fairly normal severe weather day in the state.
Don’t get me wrong, there is likely to be some high-end severe weather. But I believe most locations that do experience severe weather will see what we’d consider normal in these parts…hail of an inch or an inch and a half, wind of maybe 70mph, and possibly a twister. The day certainly does not scream “stong, long-track tornadoes.” Yet the hype train is still rollin’ down the track….
By reading this post you are taking an important step toward not getting wrapped up in the hype. So take a few deep breaths. Remember, even on high-risk days, more people will not be affected by the storms than will be affected by them.
Recommendation 1: stick with local media outlets who have a stake in our community.
National media (The Weather Channel, AccuWeather, the cable “news” channels and the national news on ABC, NBC and CBS) have only one interest … making money. Driving page views and getting you to watch their programs are much more important to them than a reasonable, accurate, timely forecast or discussion. later this week, they’ll move on to the next story and forget about us until they need our views again.
Local media (for Kansas I include KWCH, KAKE, KSN and some local radio stations) are part of the community, and are not served in the slightest by over-warning or alarming you. The people who work in local media have to live here, too. And if the worst hits, we’ll not only have to cover it but will be affected right along with you.
That’s not to say we don’t miss the mark from time to time…in fact, Mark Bogner took several well -deserved digs on local media after a multi-day pre-storm hype monster rolled through at the start of the 2016 season.
Recommendation 2: most of what you’ll see on social media is bunk. Don’t use social media as your primary source of information.
Evaluate everything you read or hear…including what we post. Does it fit with what you’re hearing from the sources you’ve learned to trust over time? Is it breathless, click-bait, sensationalized?
The most important thing to remember is…social media may not be timely. Twitter is pretty good, but I’ve seen Facebook posting my items to friends’ news feeds days after they are no longer pertinent.
Related: There was no Warning
The best antidote to fear is preparation
Rather than spending a lot of time rewriting the preparation tips I’ve posted before, here are several links I think you’ll find useful.
New for 2018: Post-storm recovery: Be careful what you sign!
Disaster Kit Information
Ready.gov: For Pet Owners
KSStorm.info/Butler Co Animal Rescue Team Video