Be prepared for severe weather

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Cassville Police Chief Dana Kammerlohr encourages area families to be prepared for the approaching severe weather and tornado season by making an emergency plan and emergency preparedness kit.

"As a storm is happening is not the time to prepare a plan," said Kammerlohr. "Families need to discuss among themselves what to do if inclement weather is approaching and or the emergency sirens have been activated, and they need to have a mock drill to make sure everyone understands the plan.

"Also, I encourage families to buy a weather radio and to have as a primary alert when there is a threat of storms in the area," added Kammerlohr.

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) National Weather Service lists the Cassville weather radio frequency as 162.500 call letter WNG608.

March 3, marks the start of National Severe Weather Preparedness Week. As the event approaches, the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) and NOAA are continuing their partnership to increase pubic awareness of the hazards posed by severe weather and steps that can be taken to be better prepared for these events.

During National Severe Weather week, families are encouraged to develop a plan for taking shelter and a place to meet after a disaster. Protective coverings, such as mattresses, sleeping bags and thick blankets should be stored in or near the shelter space, ready to be used in a second's notice.

When a tornado watch is issued, families should think about their plan and check to make sure all of their safety supplies are stored in the proper area. Families can stay alert for weather warnings by tuning into local television, radio or NOAA Weather Radio broadcasts. Sign up for wireless emergency alerts online at www.weather.gov/subscribe.

Area residents can also prepare for emergencies by locating restrooms, storage rooms and other interior shelter areas in the stores that they shop in frequently.

Knowing the signs of a tornado are another way to prepare for dangerous weather. Those signs include: strong persistent rotation in the cloud base; whirling dust or debris on the ground under a cloud base; hail or heavy rain followed by dead calm or a fast, intense wind shift; loud, continuous roar or rumble that doesn't fade like thunder; small, bright, blue-green to white flashes at ground level; and persistent lowering from the cloud base.

Not all tornados have a funnel, and many are wrapped in heavy precipitation making the rotation difficult to see.

In 2012, there were more than 450 weather-related fatalities and nearly 2,600 injuries.

During the 2013 severe weather season, FEMA and NOAA encourage area residents to know their risk, pledge to take action and be an example. Families can take the Pledge to Prepare at ready.gov/severe-weather.

Taking the pledge is the first step to making sure a family is prepared for severe weather and requires the development of a family communication plan, which can be emailed to a personal email account. Those who pledge to prepare are also asked to build an emergency kit and store important papers and valuables in a safe location.

Once families have taken the Pledge to Prepare they are encouraged to share their stories with family and friends through Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter and other social media sites.

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