(EDITOR’S NOTE: This is one in a series of articles about Severe Weather Awareness Week.)
Being ready for severe weather means giving through to how you will be aware of dangers, Emergency Risk Manager Amy Miller advises, and that can involve some popular safety technology.
According to information from the National Weather Services, “all hazards NOAA Weather Radio is like having your personal tornado siren in your home or vehicle.
“We encourage Kansans to purchase a weather radio and have it programmed to their county and/or surrounding counties to receive severe weather warnings and information directly from the National Weather Service.
“Now is a great time to replace the back-up battery in your NOAA All Hazards Weather Radio so that you get severe weather information even if the power goes out.”
Sometimes we can be warned by public systems, such as those that have been tested this week.
What those sirens DO NOT mean is that it’s time to call the 911 emergency line for information.
There are some issues to consider when the outdoor sirens sound, including:
• When the outdoor sirens sound, they are not announcing a “warning or a watch.” The sirens are announcing “an imminent threat” and they indicate that people should take immediate cover. The won’t be sounded otherwise, so there is no reason to call 911 asking if there is a real threat. If they sound, THERE IS.
• The sirens are only sounded when there is a confirmed threat. They are sounded after an emergency responder, trained in weather observation, has approved of the sounding, so, again, there is no reason to call 911 for more information. Simply seek shelter.
• Sirens are NEVER sounded as an “all clear.” If there are multiple sirens, it means that multiple threats have been discovered.
To be ready for responding to severe weather, it’s a good idea to understand some of the term that weather officials will use,
NWS Meteorologists have determined that tornadoes are possible in your area. Remain alert for approaching storms. Know what counties or parishes are in the watch area by listening to NOAA Weather Radio, visiting www.weather.gov or tuning into local radio and television broadcasts.
Severe Thunderstorm Watch:
NWS Meteorologists have determined that severe thunderstorms are likely to occur in your area. Watch the sky and stay tuned in for when warnings are issued.
NWS Meteorologists have determined that a tornado is occurring or likely to occur.
Severe Thunderstorm Warning:
NWS Meteorologists have determined that a tornado is occurring or likely to occur. Warnings indicate imminent danger to life and property to those in the path of the storm.