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Commission OKs weather week proclamation
With spring comes the chance for nasty storms
new deh county commission weather week pic web
Flooding, like this shown on West Barton County Road last year, is an example of the need to observe Severe Weather Awareness Week. - photo by Tribune file photo

 March came in like a lion and those winds whipped the Barton County Courthouse Monday morning.

So, in an effort to remind the public of the potential threat these and other nasty weather conditions pose, the Barton County Commission Monday morning passed a proclamation declaring this as Severe Weather Awareness Week 2017.

“You just never know when Severe Weather Week comes around, what kind of weather you’ll be having,” said Barton County Emergency Manager Amy Miller. “It’s Kansas.”

And that is why this is so important, she said.

“Barton County Emergency Management would like to remind everyone to be prepared for the spring severe weather season,” Miller said. The proclamation encourages individuals, businesses and communities to plan and prepare. This is a cooperative effort of the National Weather Service and the Kansas Emergency Management Association. 

In 2016, there were 102 tornadoes in Kansas that injured 12. There were also high winds, heavy rains and flooding.

Even more ominously, Miller said, this year marks the 10 anniversary of the Greensburg tornado. It was a night that also saw damage in Barton County.

“We do really need to think about our personal safety,” Miller said. 

A statewide effort

Gov. Sam Brownback signed a proclamation Feb. 17 designating March 6-10 as Severe Weather Awareness Week in Kansas. During the week, the Kansas Division of Emergency Management will place special emphasis on reminding Kansans to be mindful of severe weather alerts and to make sure they are prepared.

Kansans are also urged to take part in the statewide tornado safety drill 10 a.m. Tuesday. If severe weather is imminent on March 7, the backup date for the tornado drill will be 10 a.m. Thursday, March 9.  

“Check your home emergency kit to make sure it has everything you need,” said Angee Morgan, deputy director of KDEM. “Replace outdated items. Make sure flashlights and battery-operated radios are working and test the backup batteries. If you don’t have an emergency kit, now is a good time to start putting one together.”

“You can go to, FEMA and many other sites,” said Morgan. “Go to the store and buy the basics – water, high-energy snacks, first aid supplies – and add an item or two to your shopping list every time you go to the store.”

Morgan said the week is also a good time to sit down with your family and review your home emergency plan.

“Then practice it,’ said Morgan. “Have a drill so everyone knows what to do if the warning sirens sound and where you’ll meet if you are separated during a storm.”

KDEM also wants reminds Kansans that a storm does not have to include a tornado to be dangerous.

“Severe thunderstorms may include high straight-line winds that can knock down trees and power lines and even buildings,” said Morgan. “The possibility of large hail is another factor to consider, as is the prospect of lightning and floods.

“When the weather looks threatening, we have tendency to go stand on the porch and see if we can spot a tornado,” said Morgan. “That’s not the wisest thing to do. When severe weather is forecast, stay inside and monitor your TV, radio or social media for weather alerts. Don’t tune it out; stay tuned.” 

Weather can range from rain and flooding to wind and fires.