Santa Barbara Politics, Media & Culture

Thursday, January 24, 2008

Seen on the Web: Tornado Warning?

A reader saw this last night at

To be clear -- this warning does not seem to be in effect now but it made me wonder: what's the evac plan for the "cities" of Refugio and Western Goleta? Much less the rest of our area?


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Proceed to 101 and then go either north or south. (If I were a "consultant" you would pay me hundreds of thousands of dollars for the advice.)

1/24/2008 7:14 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hello? Let's figure it out now. Oh, yeah....lets all do the CYA thing...that's why you have your so-called 'tornado alert' Grow up.

1/24/2008 7:27 AM  
Blogger Sara De la Guerra said...

I don't know if it is that easy...why wouldn't you get stuck with everyone on the highway? It might be better to take your chances in a ditch.

7:27 AM -- not sure how this is a CYA thing or about growing up. How many families have a plan for what to do in an emergency? What if your spouse is on the other side of town?

1/24/2008 7:55 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Anybody out there who remembers the night of the Painted Cave fire when the 101 and 154 were closed? What would you do if you couldn't get home to your family? Have you ever tried taking the 154 when the 101 was closed? It can take up to 4 hours to go around when it is bumper to bumper. I was stuck in SB the night of Painted Cave and my kids were in Santa Ynez. Luckily I had family to take them. This may seem laughable to some, but emergency preparedness in nothing to take lightly. Santa Barbara may seem like paradise, but a strong earthquake or big fire coming down the mountain can change it into hell in an instant. There are only 2 roads out of town to service over 100,000 people!

Does anybody remember the Northridge quake? The fact is, in case of a major earthquake, emergency services and utilities would be minimally available at best, so you would have to fend for yourself for a few days until the Red Cross was set up. There would be no warning, it could happen any time. Are YOU prepared?

1/24/2008 8:49 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Having grown up in the midwest, where "tornado drills" were as frequent as fire drills in elementary school, you don't evacuate during a tornado. You go into your storm cellar or basement, or, lacking that, an interior room (to be away from shattering windows) or bathtub, and cover your HEAD, not CYA. Of course, you don't want to be in a trailer, but if you are on the road, you do want to get into a ditch, I guess because in a low lying spot you're less likely to be flung around.

1/24/2008 9:22 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

On one of the TV stations last evening, they said there was a good possibilty of waterspouts in the area, then went on to say that this is a tornado over water. This would prompt to place a severe weather alert, as something could come ashore.

1/24/2008 10:14 AM  
Anonymous WomanforSanity said...

Our community definitely needs a plan for any kind of disaster or emergency. We know that we cannot depend upon the Federal government or our CA National Guard (being mostly deployed in the Middle East fiasco) This is why the People's Coalition of Santa Barbara is in the process of setting up a website where all of the Progressive people of our great city can go to network with other organizations and individuals wanting to see a sustainable effort in our community whereby we can all make plans and reach each other when a disaster strikes. Just Google for more information and get involved in the efforts of other people in your community who share your values and concerns.

1/24/2008 10:46 AM  
Anonymous Marjorie said...

Tornados _can_ happen in California. Several years ago one touched down in Sunnyvale, across town from my residence. Resulting power surge took out my modem but luckily didn't fry my computer. Even if uncommon, tornados are possible.

1/24/2008 10:51 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Cox was broadcasting it in a strip across the screen in the early morning hours. I noticed it about 10 minutes before the alert was to expire.

1/24/2008 11:35 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

It is very possible the tornado was actually there, but didn't touch down. There was a mile stretch of the 101 at El Capitan that was covered in "sleet/snow"... That would indicate possible tornado activity.

1/24/2008 12:33 PM  
Anonymous Don Lubach said...

Thanks, Dear Sara, for bringing this up. Every household ought to have a plan. My family has a plan for a fire in our house (which includes specific instructions for our small children about what to do). We also have a plan for what we'd do if we're apart and a fire rolls down the hill like it did so many years ago. But we don't have a tornado plan. The only ditches I know of around our home are filled with rushing water. I don't think I'll be adding tornadoes to our plan, but your thoughtful post reminded me to visit our existing plans.

Don Lubach

1/24/2008 12:38 PM  
Blogger jqb said...

"Even if uncommon, tornados are possible."

Things uncommon are becoming more common, at an accelerating pace, all matters of climate change due to global warming. Increased tornadoes and hurricanes and longer fire seasons are all expected ... and observed ... consequences.

1/24/2008 11:53 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Coastal water spouts get called tornadoes around here.

1/25/2008 9:20 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Wgat I kike about this posting is that it creates 2 new cities on the south coast. That would give us a majority vote on SBCAG and other regional bodies.

1/25/2008 11:20 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Tornadoes are not any more common now than they have ever been. I saw tornadoes over Los Angeles in the 1980's and the 1970's. Until Doppler Radar became common, most of them were not observed, so past statistics are clearly not an indicator of tornado activity, much like hurricane records don't go back before WW2.

Evacuation is a very poor idea in a tornado. Cars often get blown off the road. The interior of a building away from windows, preferably on the lowest floor (in case the roof lifts off) is the safest place. I grew up in "Tornado Alley" and saw dozens in some years. I have taken refuge in a ditch, since when one is outdoors there is not much else to use. Windows will tend to blow outward as the tornado approaches (due to pressure changes), and often the sky turns a strange shade of green.

1/29/2008 8:05 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Please remember that this is a standard "Tornado Warning" that is issued in Kansas as well as Santa Barbara. While the warnings are the same, the tornados encountered are very different. Tornados in this area, because of the much lower vertical lift, are much much weaker and most often do little comparative damage.

The total time involved with this event was around 10 minutes from when the National Weather Service recognized the formation via doplar radar, the sighting of a spout and the cell dissipation. By the time the NWS warning was issued, the cell was already collapsing. Certainly not enough time to conduct any type of community alert.

Those people who have voiced the need to prepare for more realistic disasters, e.g. earthquakes, floods and fires, are absolutely correct. Please visit for great information on disaster preparedness.

1/31/2008 9:46 AM  

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