All too well I can remember the first time a weather radio woke me from a deep sleep and warned me to hit the deck. As scary as it was at the time, I am thankful for it now. Without the benefit of a NOAA weather radio, I would have never known the danger that was coming my way.
You see, I live in the South where hurricanes and tornadoes love to come out and play. Hurricanes give you warning as they track slowly towards your home toting bags packed with impending doom. Hurricanes announce themselves and give you at least some vague warning that they are on the way. Tornadoes, on the other hand, are the worst type of uninvited house guest. They show up at the last minute or often entirely unannounced and then proceed to trash the place.
I worked many tornado details over the years and have seen the damage they can do firsthand. It is amazing, awful, powerful stuff. It is unfathomable, before, during, and still after you've seen it. You cannot outrun a tornado. If it is heading for your house, you will not be able to save that house. You can, however, save yourself if a weather radio goes off, warning you to seek shelter ahead of the storm. What about tornado sirens, you ask? Well, about that...tornado sirens have to be able to survive a tornado if they are to work. This picture was taken after an EF5 flattened an entire town.
Storm season is coming soon. Tornado outbreaks usually start in April and hurricane season starts in June. Preparing for these things takes much more than bottled water and canned goods. Part of preparedness is knowing when something is coming and when it is upon you. Being prepared is knowing when to run.
Having a weather radio can be priceless in situations where severe weather is approaching. It will notify you at all hours of day. Even though it may be tempting to say they are not worth the expense, you have to weigh the cost of a weather radio against what you value your life at as well as the lives of your family. Sure, cell phones come with emergency alerts now and those are quite helpful, if you hear them. Mine went off in the middle of the night recently when the phone was on silent. That means the alert was on silent as well and I slept right through it. Since people cannot call and email your weather radio at all hours of the day, there is no reason for turning it on silent. When it goes off, it can save your life. You will not want to silence that like you do a cell phone.
Whether to add a weather radio to your storm supplies is up to you, but please do consider if in you live in an area plagued by severe weather. By having an early warning system in place, the life you save could be your own.