Citizens Urged To Prepare For Severe Weather Season

March 7, 2014
By

The week began with a winter storm that left roads covered with snow and ice, and now temperatures will reach 50 degrees Friday.

It can serve as a reminder that weather can change rapidly and also become severe quick during this time of year.

National Severe Preparedness Week is sponsored by Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) and the National Oceanic Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), and runs from March 2-8.

The goal is to raise awareness of the risk of severe weather, and encourage households and businesses to have a plan before severe weather strikes.

The awareness week comes just two weeks after a tornado touched down in Osgood. A local homeowner and her granddaughter were able to avoid injury by seeking safety in an interior room of their home.

Andy Hatzos, a forecaster with the National Weather Service office in Wilmington, Ohio, said the top priority is to have a plan.

“Know what to do when a tornado strikes. For a lot of people that would be to go to the basement or the lowest level of the home when a tornado occurs or a warning is issued,” he said.

“But for some people, for example, that are in a mobile home, will want to have some sort of shelter that they can get to and get to quickly.”

It also serves an importance to be weather-ready and understand the type of hazardous weather that can affect where you live and work, and how the weather can impact you and your family.

Before storms strike, develop a communication plan, create or purchase an emergency supplies kit and be aware of the current weather forecast.

During the spring, the majority of tornados reported occur between Noon and Midnight. With severe weather a threat even while residents may be asleep, it is important to have an emergency notification nearby.

Some ways to obtain emergency alerts include Nixle and other emergency alert systems, a NOAA Weather Radio, and utilizing local television and radio.

Whats the difference between a watch and a warning?

A severe thunderstorm watch means the potential exists for the development of storms that can produce damaging winds or hail. A tornado watch means that conditions are favorable for severe thunderstorms to form, and may be capable of producing a tornado.

“A tornado warning, severe thunderstorm warning, a flash flood warning, means that the threat is believed to be imminent or already occurring,” Hatzos indicated.

The term “severe” refers to when hail is ¾ of an inch in diameter or larger, or at least wind gusts of 58 mph or more.

While emergency personnel, health departments and local media prepare for disaster events, it is important for citizens to note their own personal preparedness can make a huge difference in the outcome.

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