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When bad weather strikes, turn to ydr.com

Styrofoam insulation and a broken tree branch litter the yard behind Larry Miller’s North Hopewell Township trailer home after a storm passed through on Friday, June 1, 2012. (DAILY RECORD/SUNDAY NEWS – CHRIS DUNN)

Last Sunday night I was sitting in my pjs watching TV when I got a call from my parents who were driving home from the Tampa airport to their home in central Florida when they passed a tornado.

They seemed really calm about it, acknowledging that it likely hit developments near their home, and that more could be on the way thanks to Tropical Storm Debby.

That call was followed by one from my sister who was in a tornado warning, watching her TV as the path of a tornado was bearing down on St. Pete, Fla. Now growing up in Alabama, we’ve seen our fair share of tornadoes — I remember watching one from a friend’s window as it torn across the golf course on the other side of the street. And moving to Florida, we’ve seen our fair share of hurricanes — three in one year that left us without power for awhile.

But I ordered my sister into her closet and told her to turn up the TV so she could hear the news. I immediately started flipping to The Weather Channel and searching my cellphone for info on the storm’s path. To my dismay, I couldn’t find anything. TWC was reporting a warning and sights of a tornado right in my sister’s area, but there was nothing on her local TV or newspaper sites. So, I have to admit — in this age of having information always at my fingertips (and Emily not responding immediately to my text) — I started to panic.

Luckily, the storms were very close, but my family was OK, except for an overnight power outage. And the storm cycle repeated itself the next day, but mom made it home from work OK.

Working at a newspaper, I have to know what’s going on at all times. And lucky for York County residents seeking information during bad weather, we have a bad weather plan. It ranges from when to send email and text alerts, what to do during watches and warnings, and how to get comments and pictures from you throughout the county.

And our plan even includes sending reporters out to where funnel clouds were just reported. One did that on the first weekend of June, when it turns out a tornado did touch in the southern part of the county. Across Twitter, people were reporting what they were seeing and hearing, and that followed with a tweet from Rebecca LeFever saying she was headed that way to check out the funnel cloud. It seems dangerous, and sometimes it’s scary, but it’s what we do.

So what else would you like to see when bad weather strikes? Help me, help you by taking a look at ydr.com/weather and letting me know what other resources would help you? Which of our platforms — print, online, Twitter, Facebook, etc — do you turn to when you or your loved ones may be in danger?

And check out our weather plan below and let us know what you think. Because when bad weather strikes, we’ll be out there checking it out. (Well, not me, I sit at a desk. But I’ll send people your way in rain boots and raincoats.)

Bad Weather plan