Hype is (an unfortunate) part of outbreaks known days in advance

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. On Wednesday, 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 wrote last year after a multi-day pre-storm hype monster rolled through

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

FearfulThe 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.

Preparation Checklist

How to Prepare for a Tornado Outbreak

What You Need to Know about NWS Watches and Warnings

Five Articles that Will Help You prepare for a Storm Outbreak

Six Ways to Prepare for Tornado Season

Three Tornado Myths That Refuse to Die

From Ready.gov: Tornado Preparedness

Disaster Kit Information

Ready.gov: Emergency Supply List      Alternate Download: checklist_2014

Ready.gov: For Pet Owners     KSStorm.info/Butler Co Animal Rescue Team Video

The Bottom Line

On the plus side, strong, long track tornadoes don’t just appear. In any one location, if a tornado like this is approaching, you are going to know about it some time in advance. That is, if you are paying attention and keeping up on the warnings to your west and southwest.