Tornadoes stalked the Midwest once again last night. At least 17 twisters were reported across five states, with the greatest concentration in Oklahoma and around Oklahoma City in particular. So far, 5 people had been reported killed and 71 injured. There has been extensive property damage both from high winds and from the flooding that accompanied the storms. While tornadoes touched down in Oklahoma, Arkansas, Kansas, Indiana and Illinois, Oklahoma, and Oklahoma City in particular, took the brunt of the storms.

There is no way to stop a tornado, and the best way to keep safe is to stay informed, so that you can get out of the way before the storm hits. Smartphones and other smart appliances can play a big role in this. First, a battery powered portable NOAA Weather Radio is an essential lifesaving tool. There should be such radios in your home, in your place of business and in your pocket, and they should be turned on at all times during this period. Also, NOAA offers a smartphone app. Another good app is the crowdsourced Tornado Spy. An app that provides alerts from all over the US is Nixle. The American Red Cross offers Tornado by the American Red Cross, that keeps users posted on damage and shelter locations. Tornado Chasers offers an excellent grounding in tornado facts and tornado safety. But remember, cell towers are vulnerable in storms, and a portable weather radio is your most critical information tool. NOAA also provides an Online Tornado FAQ.

As Unknowncountry’s Climate Watch has been reporting since early spring, unstable weather conditions are persisting over the central US, and the National Weather Service has just issued a tornado emergency for western portions of Oklahoma City. This means that dangerous tornadoes are expected to develop imminently. Until unseasonably cold air, driven by arctic ice melt, ceases flowing across the continent from the northwest and colliding with warm air surging up from the overheated Gulf of Mexico, these conditions will continue. It is possible that unsettled weather could trouble the US midwest into July, to be followed by extremes of heat and drought persisting into the fall.

Where else will you find a story like this? Sure, there are plenty of stories about the storms, but how many inform you about useful ways of keeping informed, and also offer a clear explanation for why this unusually large scale and violent weather pattern is likely to keep reappearing this season?

The answer is simple: nowhere else. But it all depends on you. Subscribe to Unknowncountry.com. We need you, and we think you need us. Click here to explore our options.