Today I experienced some unintended consequences of my actions. Let’s start with the weather radio I bought two weeks ago. I had been wanting a weather radio for the house for a while, so I can wake up and take precautions in the event of a tornadic storm during the night. If I’m asleep, I’m not going to hear the sirens. However, my problem was with the capabilities of the units on the market. Only the expensive models (>$60) would let you select which warnings would trigger alerts, and none of them would let you adjust the volume of the radio’s siren.
At the office, we got a Reecom R-1630 for free through some sort of federal government program. I saw “Reecom” and assumed it was some cheapo Chinese-brand radio. One dayb the radio kept sounding alarms for LaSalle County. We’re in Kane County. These alerts became bothersome, so I looked into how to program the radio with the S.A.M.E. codes for the counties my office is interested in. During this process, I discovered I could set the siren volume on the Reecom. I looked up reviews online for the R-1630, and most were favorable, preferring the Reecom over the Midland units that dominate the weather radio market.
Anyway, I got a new Reecom R-1630 off eBay for a decent price and programmed it the way I wanted. Last night we had some severe weather and the alarm sounded around 3:30AM. Slightly panicked, slightly curious, and slightly perturbed, I rolled over in bed and took a look at the radio, which now had a blinking red light to indicate receipt of a warning. The NOAA weather radio broadcast came on after a few seconds of siren, informing me of a severe storm that was to pass to my south within the next half hour. Meanwhile, there were constant flashes of lightning from a storm that must have been closer to me. It was like somebody set a strobe light outside my window. I had a hard time going back to sleep because of all the lightning, plus I was concerned the alarm might sound several more times.
I hadn’t stopped to think that if my radio awakens me for a severe thunderstorm, I might not be able to go back to sleep because of the lightning. (I am a heavy sleeper, but lightning is the one thing that keeps me awake.) I am now reconsidering my decision to be alerted for both severe thunderstorm and tornado warnings. I definitely want to be awakened for a tornado warning, but I’m not so sure about severe thunderstorms. Most storms probably don’t merit me being awakened, but if a storm is particularly severe, I want to be prepared for it in the event it becomes damaging or tornadic.
I can’t imagine too many severe thunderstorms occurring between midnight and 4:30AM, so I think I will leave my radio programmed as-is. I have, however, put a folded washcloth over the speaker to dull the siren a bit so my awakening isn’t as jarring.
In summary, the adjustable siren volume was still a little louder than I would have liked on the lowest setting, and I failed to account for difficulties falling asleep after listening to the warning.
The second unintended consequence today had to do with Facebook. I taped the Milwaukee IndyCar race yesterday and started watching it this morning. I got about 2/3 of the way through the race before having to leave for work. While sitting on the toilet, I pulled up Facebook on my cell phone. I saw an update from the Danica Patrick Facebook group I am a member of that gave away where she finished. That’s OK, I still didn’t know who won. This afternoon, I checked for friend updates on Facebook again and accidentally looked at an update from the IndyCar fan group I’m in. It congratulated the winner. Whoops. I successfully avoided sports reports last evening and this morning, but forgot that the IndyCar-related Facebook groups I’m in would post updates related to the race. Now I know – no looking at Facebook while I am in the middle of watching a race on tape. When I joined the groups, I forgot that I would get spoilers.