Severe weather has been active across the country this week with flash flooding in Death Valley National Park, lightning strikes in D.C., and even some flooding here in the Valley. Obviously, protection of life and property are of the upmost importance during severe thunderstorms, but what should you do in the unfortunate event of storm damage? After you read this article, you will learn how to report severe thunderstorm damage which will help assist meteorologists with future weather events.
The National Weather Service
The National Weather Service (NWS) is a United States government organization that forecasts weather across the country. Overall, there are 122 NWS offices across the country. The closest offices to our viewing area are the NWS office in Cleveland, Ohio and the office in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. Mahoning and Trumbull counties are in NWS Cleveland’s jurisdiction while Lawrence, Mercer, and Columbiana counties are in NWS Pittsburgh’s forecast area. You can view a map of the different NWS jurisdictions for the regional area below:
How do I report storm damage in my area?
In addition to weather forecasts, the NWS offices are tasked with recorded storm reports during times of active weather. These storm reports are important because they help meteorologists verify severe storm warning, alert law enforcement of life endangering structural damage, and provides a history of the storm that can be used for future warnings. The first step is knowing which NWS office to report to. Thanks to the map above, you can find which NWS office your location belongs to. The next steps are as follows:
Estimate the time and verify the location of the damage: After the severe weather event is over, do your best to estimate the time that damage occurred. If you cannot remember an exact time, then try to remember if it was night or day. The NWS will be able to look at archived data to verify when the severe weather occurred. If you know the exact location of the storm damage then this will assist the NWS immensely.
If it is safe, TAKE A PICTURE/VIDEO: One of the best things you can do to assist the NWS with storm damage is sending a picture or video. Obviously, the only time you should do this is when the severe storm threat is over because personal safety is the most important.
Finally, file your report to the National Weather Service: In the day and age of social media this is one of the easiest things you can do. Each NWS office across the country has a Facebook and a Twitter page. You can give the estimated time, severe storm report, and photo/video and send it to the NWS office that covers your county. If you do not have social media, do not worry you can also report the storm damage via telephone. The contact information for the NWS office in Cleveland and Pittsburgh is listed below:
Phone: (216) 416-2900