Tornado Alert (UPDATED 5/17/18)

Let me start this blog by saying what this isn't.  This is NOT a NOAA weather radio.  What this is is an electromagnetic detector that locates and measures EM fields in the area.  Every storm produces an electromagnetic field and the larger or more severe the storm the stronger the EM field.  the company states that this can detect potential severe weather 30 minutes sooner with a 95% accuracy and can locate them within 30 miles of the detector's location.  It has an alarm system consisting a loud siren and a strobe light.  You must locate the unit on an outside wall away from electrical fields such as TV, radios, computers and even away from its own AC adapter.  Also, if it can be placed in or near a window that would be highly acceptable.

Once set up it will run a self test to tell you if you have it in a good location.  If it is then all you have to do will be let it on.  It will display a "No Threats" screen to let you know it's working (see below).


Quite warm today for late October and we had a strong cold front come through in the late afternoon.  I almost forgot about looking at the Tornado Alert until almost too late.  There was lightning nearby and when I checked I got this on the screen.

The bars just past half way indicate the lightning was somewhere in the range 4-6 miles from me.  there was closer strikes, but like I said I almost forgot to look at this and when I did the bulk of the storm had shifted east.  Besides lightning  there was heavy rain and some wind.  Nothing more than a typical garden drenching Tstorm.  The unit called it right...NOT SEVERE.

Just wanted to post this to show I haven't forgotten this, but our severe season is technically done.  I will post if something pops up unexpected like today.  Otherwise we'll just have to wait.  

Update 2/26/17

Well, the 2017 Severe Weather season in SE Pennsylvania got off to a bang yesterday.  We had a real doozy of a cold front come through with temperatures dropping from a high 73 to 51 in about 20 min.  Numerous warnings came out, so it was a good day to keep track of the Tornado Alert warning system.

When I first looked at the module, it read "not severe" which is its way of telling you that what is occurring is a typical garden afternoon thundershower.  It was as a small cell passed close by, heading NE ahead of the front with a few flashes and a rumble or two of thunder.  Ah, but the best was yet to come.

As the front roared closer, the unit upgraded to a severe storm (dangerous conditions).  The bar graph indicated to me the storm was still a distance away, possibly 10-15 miles.  In checking the radar that was about the story.  So I decided to keep checking every so often.

 Numerous severe warnings kept coming up on my phone, so again I checked the unit where this showed, which indicated there was a deadly threat if outdoors.  The bar graph indicated it was a bit of a distance away.  In checking my lightning map app, I discovered the closest lightning strikes to me were in a severely warned storm in Lancaster County, about 20 miles SW of my location.  So far, as far as I was concerned, this unit was performing as advertised.

Then, as the front closed in on my location, I got these reports on the unit invery quick succession.

Along with the screen notifications there was a low volume, but high pitched siren and a flashing strobe light which is visible at the top on the left. The light on the right is a red light that comes on and stays on through all warnings.

I literally watched it change over a period of about 10 min as the front hit us.  Torrential rain driven by 40 mph wind, I measured with my AccuRite 5-1 weather station and Davis Vantage Vue.  Cloud to cloud lightning with anvil crawlers visible and a roar which I had never heard before.  I got concerned because it sounded like a freight train or a plane hovering right overhead.  With the warnings on my phone and from the Tornado Alert, I checked out every window to look for some telltale sign, a little worried that any tornado might be rain wrapped.  I opened my side deck door to listen and then I realized what it was.  It was the sound of constant rolling thunder with intermittent louder rolls.  It went on for over 40 min.  I have never heard thunder like that before.  Also, there is a possibility some of it was "hail roar" since we did have hail, although it was only pea-sized here.  Other places within 20 miles got 1 inch diameter hail.  There was no tornado here, but the conditions and the EM associated with that type of storm was definitely picked up by the Tornado Alert.  There was considerable damage done just to my west by about 10 miles or so, but the NWS has determined it was most likely straight-lined winds.

After the worst of the storm passed east of me, I got some lightning warnings, which the unit also recorded after the tornado threat had passed, with the bar graph again indicating the storm was moving away and its distance from me was increasing.

The unit was now back to showing "No Threats"....until the next time.

All in all I am extremely pleased that the unit seems to live up to the stated purpose.  This is another one of those pieces of equipment that I think every dedicated storm enthusiast/weather weenie should have.  As this severe storm season unfolds, I will add more here as I can.  I have included an 'Updated" tag on the tab to indicate that there is new.  In the future I will add a date to indicate there is something new to be seen.  Thanks for reading. 

Update  8/26/17

Earlier this week a series of storms came through and I almost forgot to check the Tornado Alert as I was getting ready my cameras.  The first storm passed to my north about 15 miles away with 70 mph winds and 2.25 inch hail and lots of lightning.  I missed the direct hit and got the edge, but the Tornado Alert did show this message.

I had the siren on mute, but the strobe light was flashing.

Later a second storm passed about 6 miles to my south and was tornado warned (radar indicated rotating tstorm).  No funnel was ever seen.  Here there was constant CTC lightning and deep rolling thunder, heavy rain (1.4 inches), no hail and the wind wasn't much (a gust of 25 mph and 15-20 mph consistently).  I don't get too excited about radar indicated rotation except to keep a watchful eye out.  The Tornado Alert backed my feelings up with this report.

The bars did indicated it was of a higher level of intensity which is pretty much what was.  After the storm passed I got this type of pictures.

Update 5/17/18

Image from a thunderstorm on 5/15/18 that after passing through lost some of it's energy allowing the Tornado Alert to register it as "not severe".  Lightning was in focus, unfortunately, I forgot the TA was closer.

No comments:

Post a Comment