To our knowledge, meteorological science has yet to devise this kind of miracle device.
But being “storm ready” does mean this. Tools ranging from warning systems, to social media, to Nixle and even Weather Spotters have been put into place to give as much notice as possible that terror is headed our way, and that all should take precautionary action.
One such tool is approaching. On Saturday, April 13, a weather-awareness event sponsored by Ace Hardware of Cleveland, McIntire and Associates, and the Cleveland-Bradley County Emergency Management Agency will host an annual weather radio giveaway. On this date, 100 weather radios will be distributed free of charge to qualifying families in Cleveland and Bradley County.
A pre-qualification process has already been arranged. Those wanting more information about its criteria may contact Curtis Cline, administrative officer for CBCEMA at 728-7289.
But this timely distribution is not limited to just the giveaway. Area individuals and families wishing to purchase weather radios also will have the opportunity, as they do year-round at retail outlets that offer this type of weather-awareness equipment.
CBCEMA representatives also will be on-site in the Ace Hardware parking lot to help program the radios.
Other community-support organizations will be on hand for the family-friendly event which will include bouncy toys for the kids and hot dogs courtesy of Cooke’s Food Store. Some of the agencies will include area law enforcement, Cleveland Fire Department and Bradley County Fire-Rescue personnel, Cleveland Utilities, Volunteer Energy Cooperative, the Hiwassee Chapter of the American Red Cross, the Salvation Army-Cleveland Corps and a slew of additional groups.
We can think of no Cleveland and Bradley County resident who needs to be reminded of the importance of weather alerts. As we enter the traditional tornado season — that being early spring — we remain mindful that nowadays the months of March and April no longer corner the market on weather-related violence.
Whether its causes can be linked to global warming, a shift in Planet Earth’s atmosphere or just plain bad luck, the truth is tornadoes in our region can pop up on an unusually warm midwinter day just as they can in the most virulent months of spring when warm days collide with cool nights which is often the recipe for meteorological disaster.
For any who ponder the need, or who strain to justify the expense of a weather radio, we will offer two dates as evidence pointing to the urgency of owning such equipment.
1. Exhibit A: April 27, 2011, a 12-hour tornadic assault on our hometown led by five confirmed twisters whose potency ranged from EF-0 to EF-4. Shall we say more? Nine people died in our community. Some 285 homes were destroyed and hundreds of others suffered damage, from minor to severe. Even more frightening is that some reports indicate the five funnels may have spun off five more, creating a “multiple-vortices” tornado effect.
2. Exhibit B: March 2, 2012, an EF-2 tornado that barreled into the southwest corner of Bradley County from the Harrison Bay area. Bouncing from rural areas into the city, while landing on the Cleveland State Community College campus, this twister destroyed homes and property as well. Mercifully, it finally exited our community at the northeast corner, but then wreaked devastation upon communities beyond our borders.
As we said, few — if any — local residents need to be reminded of nature’s potential fury.
It is why we recommend attending the coming community event at Ace Hardware.
Ours is not an endorsement of one retail establishment over another. Ours is a voice of the value of human life and the fragile balance between preparation and tragedy.
We can’t control our destiny.
But we can sure as heck influence its turns.