Severe Weather Awareness Week: Winter’s almost over, prepare for bad weather

Old Man Winter may be heading for the door – although he may decide to hang around for a while longer; after all, this is Kansas. But even when he is gone, Kansans will still have to contend with Mother Nature and her annual “in like a lion” arrival that heralds severe weather season, bringing with it the potential for tornadoes, severe thunderstorms, high winds, hail, and flooding.

To remind Kansans to be prepared, Gov. Sam Brownback has declared March 14-18 as Severe Weather Awareness Week in Kansas.

During the week, the Kansas Division of Emergency Management will urge Kansans to check their emergency kit supplies for their home, office and vehicle, and review their emergency plans to make sure they are prepared for whatever severe weather is thrown our way.

“It doesn’t take a lot of time or a lot of money to ensure you and your family are prepared,” said Angee Morgan, KDEM deputy director. “If you don’t already have an emergency kit, start now by buying a few extra batteries and high-energy snacks during your weekly shopping.  Throw a change of clothes, an old pair of glasses and a pair of shoes in your kit.

“Check your first aid kit and make sure it’s complete and up-to-date,” said Morgan. “Doing a little bit each week makes it easier to prepare for unexpected events, particularly when you get the entire family involved in gathering the supplies and making an emergency plan.

“If you don’t have a specially-constructed storm shelter or a basement, do you know where the safest place in your home is?  Do you know how to safely shut off the gas or electricity? If you become separated, do you have a meeting area? How will you communicate with family members who may not be at home when a disaster hits or your loved ones who will be wondering about your safety? These are the things you will need to think about when making your plan.”

Morgan said more information on emergency preparedness and building an emergency kit can be found online at www.ksready.gov.

Also, Kansans are also urged to take part in the statewide tornado safety drill at 6:30 p.m. Tuesday, March 15, across most of the state. Atchison, Doniphan, Johnson, Leavenworth, Linn, Miami and Wyandotte counties will conduct their drill at 1:30 p.m. If severe weather is imminent for a community, the tornado drill will be cancelled for that community.

According to the National Weather Service, the first tornado of 2015 occurred April 2 in Labette County and the last tornado was on Nov. 16. Last year, there were 33 days with more than one tornado reported. The most tornadoes reported in one day was 22.
In all, there were 126 confirmed tornadoes in the state last year, 85 more than hit the state in 2014. On average, Kansas experiences 96 tornadoes a year.

To learn more about severe weather safety visit: http://www.nws.noaa.gov/om/severeweather/index.shtml

Information thanks to Kansas Department of Emergency Management and NWS Topeka; NWS photo.

Contact us: Osage County News | P.O. Box 62, Lyndon, KS 66451 | [email protected] | 785-828-4994 | Powered by Osage County, Kansas