Weekly Weather Update – June 27

Welcome to Cara’s Weather Corner – your weekly weather forecast by OU meteorology student and Tulsa Partners intern Cara Vanarsdel!

This week will still be nice and warm, however, it’s a tad bit more cloudy than the past couple weeks. Slight chance of showers and thunderstorms for this morning and afternoon, with a high in the lower 90s. Tuesday and Wednesday will give us some more sun, but the chances of thunderstorms increases drastically starting Wednesday night and lasting through the weekend. Which means… July 4th might be a little rainy! Highs for the week will still stay in the lower 90s and then hit around the upper 80s on the rainy days.

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Because this week might bring some thunderstorms with it, I thought it would be a good idea to talk a little bit about how thunderstorms actually form, and why we get a storm instead of just a calm rain. Haven’t you always wondered?

Screen Shot 2016-06-27 at 9.32.38 AM So here’s today’s “Fun Fact”: Thunderstorms require three ingredients for their formation: moisture, instability, and a lifting mechanism. Here in Tulsa we get our moisture mainly from the Gulf of Mexico and the Atlantic Ocean. That water is also normally pretty warm, and evaporation is higher in the warm ocean, so more moisture is being put into the atmosphere. That is why the southeastern U.S. gets much more precipitation compared to the same latitude in Southern California. Instability is the second ingredient. Air is considered unstable when it continues to rise after given a nudge upward. When air rises, it cools, and allows water to condense and form the tall cumulonimbus clouds that are the beginning signs of a thunderstorm. The last ingredient is the lifting mechanism; the initial “nudge” upward. Screen Shot 2016-06-27 at 9.32.48 AM Some of the sun’s heating of the earth’s surface is transferred to the air, which, in turn, creates different air densities. The tendency for air to rise increases with decreasing density. This difference in air density is the main source for lift and is accomplished by several methods: differential heating (for example, a grassy field will heat much slower than a paved street), fronts, drylines, and outflow boundaries, and also terrain (like mountains, for example).

How does it start, how long does it last, and why/how does it end? Well, now that you know the ingredients for a thunderstorm, visit this link for the National Weather Service’s take on the Life Cycle of a Thunderstorm!

Thunderstorms (and other severe weather) are much more fascinating after finding out exactly what it takes for one to form, and what happens during the storm. For interesting information on hail, damaging wind, and tornado formation, visit the National Weather Service’s JetStream – An Online School for Weather.

All graphics retrieved from the National Weather Service Tulsa.

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Riley’s Resilience Blog – June 24, 2016

Hi everyone, and welcome back to Riley’s Resilience Blog! This week, I wanted to talk about the importance of having emergency response and business continuity plans that account for all disasters, including terrorism. It is important to understand that terrorism isn’t just about physical attack. Terrorism can include an attack on important information or communication systems. Also, threats or hoaxes intended to terrify and scare individuals are considered terrorism.

Recent events, though, have highlighted the need to have an active shooter plan. There are several key components of an active shooter plan, including:
1. Develop a plan. An active shooter situation requires different actions than other emergencies. While practice may be done alike, the plan must address the particular characteristics of the risk.
2. Identify shelter. Typically, there is a location in the workplace that can be easily accessed and made more secure, such as a conference room with a locking door. Ensure employees are aware of this shelter-in-place location in the event of a disaster.
3. Engage law enforcement. It is crucial to open lines of communication with first responders. In addition, let local law enforcement know detailed information about your workplace, including floor plans.
4. Educate employees. Inform staff of the procedures and plans that are necessary in the event of a crisis. It is crucial for employees to know not to disrupt local authorities as they do their job. Managers should be responsible for ensuring this information is distributed to the entire staff.
5. Make training routine. In order for employees to feel confident in their response, training must be made routine. Training can include watching videos, security policy reminders, or drills.
6. Account for the aftermath. Business continuity plans should identify what to do to get back to normal. The plan must include counseling for employees.

Active Shooter Pocket card front
Active Shoot Pocket card back
Active shooter pocket card shown above available for download at the U.S. Department of Homeland Security

For more information on active shooter preparedness, click here.

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Weekly Weather Update – June 20

Welcome to Cara’s Weather Corner – your weekly weather forecast by OU meteorology student and Tulsa Partners intern Cara Vanarsdel!

Hi guys, and Happy Summer Solstice! I’m sure you already know what the weather will be like this week, but just humor me for a bit… It’s going to be hot! Temperatures in the mid to upper 90s, but the heat index will get up to 110. These temperatures are abnormally high for mid-June, and can be extremely dangerous. High heat can cause health problems; so do not forget to drink plenty of water!

graphics retrieved from the National Weather Service Tulsa

graphics retrieved from the National Weather Service Tulsa

Today is actually the first Ozone Alert day for the Tulsa metro area this summer. According to the National Weather Service, “Temperatures in the mid 90s and light winds are favorable for the buildup of ozone near the ground, to an unhealthy level.” So again, be cautious and stay hydrated! To find out ways you can reduce ozone-forming emissions on Ozone Alert days, go to OzoneAlert.com.

Fun Fact: Actually, this fact is quite sad. In 1999, a flash flood occurred when a cluster of slow-moving thunderstorms developed early in the morning and produced torrential rainfall over parts of northeast Oklahoma. Mayes County, OK was the hardest hit, with radar estimating four to seven inches of rain over a large part of the county. One man died when his car was swept off of Highway 28 near Adair. Use this story as a lesson, and turn around, don’t drown!

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Riley’s Resilience Blog – June 17, 2016

Hi everyone, and welcome back to Riley’s Resilience Blog! Today, I would like to talk about one of the most important, and most often overlooked, components of a business continuity plan, psychological and emotional recovery. When developing a business continuity plan, it is important to remember the mental health of your staff following a disaster or major event. Most anyone directly or indirectly exposed to a traumatic event will be impacted. It is crucial for employers to understand that preparing for the physiological and emotional effects of a disaster on employees is equally as important as every other component of a business continuity plan.

This week, I had the pleasure of talking to Claudia Arthrell, Director of Professional Services at Family and Children’s Services. First of all, Mrs. Arthrell is a National Psychological First Aid Trainer. Psychological First Aid (PFA) offers support for the distressed, protection from further harm, and reduces physiological stimulation and is part of the psychological and emotional recovery process. Mrs. Arthrell believes it is necessary to increase awareness of trauma and its’ aftermath following a disaster. It is normal for individuals to have a reaction to a disaster and it is crucial that there is a business continuity plan in place to address this circumstance.

Claudia Arthrell, Director of Professional Services at Family and Children's Services

Claudia Arthrell, Director of Professional Services at Family and Children’s Services

A successful psychological and emotional recovery process will address the many needs of individuals as they begin to recover from a traumatic event. These needs vary from helping individuals to cope with the disbelief and stress related to the disaster’s effect and difficulties during the recovery process, to identifying the potential for individuals to injure themselves or others through substance, emotional, and physical abuses. To learn more about coping with disaster, click here.

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Weekly Weather Update – June 13

Welcome to Cara’s Weather Corner – your weekly weather forecast by OU meteorology student and Tulsa Partners intern Cara Vanarsdel!

This graphic was retrieved from the US National Weather Service Tulsa Oklahoma

This graphic was retrieved from the US National Weather Service Tulsa Oklahoma

Heat is the main topic of discussion for today’s post, and man, it is HOT! This week we will see temperatures range from the lower to upper 90s, with the heat index reaching up to roughly 107 degrees for today and tomorrow, only to increase as the week continues on. There is a chance for scattered thunderstorms tonight as well as Tuesday evening, which could break up some of this extreme heat. However, no matter what happens, it’s going to be dangerously hot this summer. Let’s look at some precautions we can take to make sure we all stay safe and hydrated during these hot summer months:

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Be smart about your days spent outside. Sometimes it is very easy to get over-heated and not even realize it. Try to wear light clothing that fits loosely and can offer some breathing room. Make sure to stay in the shade as much as possible, and drink lots of water (before you go outside and during your outside event), even when you don’t feel thirsty. Load up on sunscreen! And don’t forget to reapply; that is how sunscreen stays most effective. Don’t expect your skin to stay protected from the sun all day if you only apply sunscreen once!

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Whether it’s a sporting event, family gathering, or something else along those lines, sometimes it’s hard to avoid being outside. However, it is important to know warning signs and what to do incase you or someone you know is starting to get over-heated. Heat exhaustion and heat strokes can be extremely dangerous to one’s health if they aren’t treated properly. Refresh your memory with these heat danger signals and actions on how to handle things in the correct manor.

In order for you to stay the most prepared, make sure you are looking out for the alerts sent out by EMSA and The National Weather Service. EMSA will issue a Medical Health Alert when the number of emergency medical care requests made for heat related incidents hits five or more for a twenty-four hour period. The National Weather Service (NWS) will issue a Heat Advisory when the forecasted heat index values are within the range of 105F to 109F and/or the actual temperatures are in the range of 103F to 104F. The NWS also issues Excessive Heat Warnings for when the forecasted heat index temperatures are at or above 110F and actual temperatures are at or above 105F. An Excessive Heat Watch will be issued prior to a heat event when/if there is a good chance that those warning conditions with develop in the coming days.

To stay up to date with all the warnings issued by EMSA and the NWS, make sure you check your local media and news outlets.

With extreme heat gaining prevalence as the summer goes on, it is important to mention that you should never leave your child or your pet in your car without air conditioning, even for just a split second. Even when outside temperatures seem to be bearable, the temperatures of the inside of a vehicle that is turned off can be anywhere from 25 to 45 degrees hotter than the environment. Check out this link for the Tulsa Health Department’s take on why you should never leave your child in a hot car.

Here are the links to the Heat alert cards (shown above) provided by Tulsa Community Service Council, both in English and in Spanish:
Heat Card English Heat Card Spanish

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Riley’s Resilience Blog – June 10, 2016


Hi everyone, and welcome back to Riley’s Resilience Blog! My first two blog posts introduced a couple of useful tools to help small businesses and non-profit organizations develop a business continuity plan. However, I failed to mention what business continuity means and why it is important for small businesses and non-profit organizations to have a business continuity plan. First of all, business continuity is defined as the ability of a small business or non-profit organization to continue to provide service or deliver products at adequate predefined levels after the occurrence of a disruptive event. If a small business or non-profit organization is unable to recommence operations within ten days after a disaster, it is unlikely the business will survive.

This week, I had the opportunity to talk with David Hall from State Farm about the importance of business continuity plans. Mr. Hall serves as the Vice President of the Board of Directors of Tulsa Partners and the Chair of the Disaster Resistant Business Council (DRBC). As the Chair of the DRBC, Mr. Hall is focused on ensuring small businesses and non-profit organizations are prepared for the occurrence of a disruptive event. He believes it is crucial for the Chambers of Commerce to support the development of business continuity plans. This is especially important for states that depend on sales tax revenue to grow the local economy, such as Oklahoma. Small businesses and non-profit organizations are crucial for sustaining the local economy. This is why they must have business continuity plans to be disaster resilient. To learn more about the Disaster Resistant Business Council, click here.

David Hall speaking to over 200 people on behalf of State Farm and Tulsa Parters on Small Business Preparedness at the Coordinating and Development Corporation's Summit '16.

Above and below: David Hall speaking to over 200 people on behalf of State Farm and Tulsa Partners on Small Business Preparedness at the Coordinating and Development Corporation’s Summit ’16 in Ruston, LA.

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Courtesy photos from the Coordinating and Development Corporation’s Summit ’16 in Ruston, LA.

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Weekly Weather Update – June 6

Welcome to Cara’s Weather Corner – your weekly weather forecast by OU meteorology student and Tulsa Partners intern Cara Vanarsdel!

Good news everybody: the sun is back! I’m happy to say that this week is full of sunshine and very warm weather. High surface pressure will build in the plains all throughout this week, which brings with it some drier conditions and a warming trend. The temperature highs for this week will range from the mid 80s up to the low 90s. Now that’s an Oklahoma summer we all know and love! Well, technically it’s spring; summer doesn’t start until June 20th.

Today is the 10th anniversary of the June 6, 2006 damaging microburst that struck parts of Tulsa at around 6 am. What is a microburst? According to the National Weather Service, “a microburst is a localized column of sinking air (downdraft) within a thunderstorm and is usually less than or equal to 2.5 miles in diameter. Microbursts can cause wide spread damage at the surface, and in some instances, can be life-threatening.” This microburst caused extensive damage north to south from 11th Street to 21st Street and from east to west from Yale to the Broken Arrow Expressway. Wind speeds were estimated at 85 miles an hour based on the damage. Roughly 1,500 homes were damaged and 13,000 residents were left without power.

Check out this link to watch a time lapse of a microburst that hit Tucson, Arizona on August 8th, 2015. (Really, watch it! It’s fascinating. Or maybe it’s just fascinating to me because I’m a meteorology geek…)

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Fun Fact: Wind speeds in microbursts can reach up to 100 mph, or even higher, which is equivalent to an EF-1 tornado! Winds this high can cause major damage to homes and other structures and level hundreds of trees. It is very important that you take Severe Thunderstorm Warnings just as seriously as Tornado Warnings!

Fun Fact and graphic retrieved from the US National Weather Service Tulsa Oklahoma

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Riley’s Resilience Blog – June 3, 2016

Hi everyone, and welcome back to Riley’s Resilience Blog! I hope you grabbed yourself a donut on the way to work this morning, because today is National Donut Day. Last week, I mentioned that in order to be most prepared for a disaster, the Insurance Institute for Business and Home Safety (IBHS) recommends for businesses and non-profit organizations to implement both EZ-PREP and Open for Business-EZ, or OFB-EZ. Today, as promised, I am going to share more information about OFB-EZ. IBHS has worked incredibly hard to develop a new and efficient business continuity program for small businesses so that they are able to re-open and recommence operations after a disaster. The new program, OFB-EZ, is intended to be easy to use, administer, and implement. In fact, this toolkit is so user-friendly that no previous experience or understanding of business continuity planning is necessary. OFB-EZ will help small businesses and non-profit organizations recognize the activities that are crucial for continued operation during a disruption, create an easy-to-use recovery plan specific to their organization, and deal with the risks their business faces.

Now, I’m officially talking to you, small business owners and non-profit organizations. Do you know how to contact important suppliers, vendors and employees, how to access data, and where to go for help following a disaster? Being as sixty percent of small businesses fail to make preparations before an emergency, I am willing to guess the answer is no. Thanks to OFB-EZ, planning for any type of business interruption has been made easy. The toolkit, which includes eight simple-to-follow modules, can be accessed here. To make things even easier, OFB-EZ is available now at no charge as a mobile app. The new app, made possible by IBHS member company, EMC Insurances Companies, can be downloaded using the links provided here.

Riley's Resilience Blog - Week 2 Photo

Graphics retrieved from the Insurance Institute for Business and Home Safety

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Tulsa Partners June Newsletter

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Long Term Recovery Efforts Continued

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