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Getting into the “spring” of things?

  • Published
  • By Col. David Almand
  • 375th Air Mobility wing commander
What should have been a weekend to kick off the spring season suddenly turned into a phenomenon that I hadn't heard about until living here: Thundersnow! Apparently it's a rare type of thunderstorm where the precipitation is snow instead of rain. I'll have to say that was a first for me, only to have it be followed by 8 inches of snow for Scott AFB ... I think that's more snow in one day than we had all winter!

With any big snow event, there are teams of people working behind the scenes to report conditions and, once again, the weather, civil engineer and command post teams worked throughout Sunday and Monday to report on conditions and clear the roads for us. We had a little bit of a communication issue as our Straight Talk Line had a technical malfunction, but overall the notifications worked well, and I appreciate everyone's patience and understanding.

Many Midwesterners say the unusual weather conditions are just par for the course. From mild warm days to very tornadic conditions ... we've already seen how Mother Nature works in this area, and for that reason I ask everyone to be aware of the changing conditions and respond as best you can to them. Sometimes the changes in weather can be sudden, so it's best to review safety procedures beforehand and ensure everyone in your family knows what to do. For instance, if there's a tornado, do you know where to go? Do you have some supplies on hand in your work sections, i.e. water, gloves, food? Do you have a family emergency plan and know what to do if phone lines go down or the power goes out?

Sirens that indicate a tornado has been sighted or is developing in the immediate area are three-minute series of short siren blasts. Please note that the sirens on base will only go off when our weather forecasters sound the alarm as it means a tornado warning or watch is in effect for the base and a 5-mile radius. You may hear sirens from the local townships and not the base, and vice versa, and that is the reason why.

Seek shelter in a storm cellar, basement, center of the house or under a table, bed or mattress. If you are outside, lie flat in a ditch or culvert, but watch for flooding. While we're on the watch for stormy weather, another reminder that spring is near is that it gets extremely windy, which tends to blow trash out of its containers. Please keep an eye out for floating debris and let's all do our job to ensure our facilities and homes stay clean.
We can all show pride in our surroundings by helping out in this area.

Lastly, as we prepare for spring, we need to have continued vigilance in the safety arena as motorcyclists are hitting the roads again, and we need to be on the lookout for them since we're not used to seeing them all through winter. For those who ride motorcycles, I urge you to review safety requirements and realize that after a season off, your skills may be a little rusty. Please take the time to refresh those skills by taking some courses from wing safety or joining a ride along with other seasoned, experienced cyclists.

Our safety professionals remind us that motorcycles should be checked out each season to ensure they're in good operating condition and for riders to be aware of road hazards left over from winter such as damage to roads and extra sand or gravel. Drivers also need to be aware of blind spots that could be shielding a rider from view. The last thing we want is a fatality knowing that it could have been avoided. Riding is a risky proposition, but there are several ways to mitigate those risks, and that's what I ask you to do and review.

In addition there is a motorcycle safety all call on April 4 at 8:30 a.m. at the base auditorium.

Let's be safe out there and take a few moments to review safety precautions and disaster preparation tips as we "spring" through this season of change.