March 30, 2012

Severe Weather

Severe Weather Awareness Week in Nebraska has just wrapped up but the important information highlighted should not be dismissed. As residents of the great state of Nebraska, we know that severe weather can strike at any time.  Last week students at Lexington Middle School had the opportunity to learn what to do if a tornado warning was issued while they were in school.  The students were walked through the plan by staff. They know where they will need to go, the route they need to follow to get there, and what they need to do once they are in the designated area.

Nebraska averages about 50 tornados each year. While May and June account for almost 63% of tornados in our state, Nebraska has reported tornados in every month of the year adding February to the list just this year. Tornados can happen at any time of the day or night but 50% happen between the hours of 4:00 p.m. and 8:00 p.m. Nebraska is ranked 5th in the nation for the total of tornados recorded in a year. With facts like these, residents of Nebraska need to be ready for severe weather.

Our students are prepared for a tornado at school.  Are you?  Your students have been prompted by Mr. Tickle to discuss an action plan with their family so they are ready in the event of a real emergency. Please take the time to create a plan for your family.  Where do you start? Here are a few easy steps you can follow to make sure you and your family will be safe.

1.  Know what to watch for when the weather turns bad. When the conditions are right for a tornado, the sky usually turns dark, often a greenish color. High winds, rain, and hail usually precede a tornado. 

2.  Listen to the radio or TV and follow the track of the storm so you know if you are in the path.

3.  If a warning has been issued, move to a predesignated "safe area" in your home. This should be an interior room or basement. Stay away from windows.

4.  If you are in vehicle, stop and find shelter. Do not try to outrun the storm.

5.  In the event you are caught outside when the storm approaches, seek shelter in a nearby ditch or depression in the ground.

6.  Do not stay in a mobile home. They cannot provide shelter from the high winds of a tornado. Planning a safe place before a storm hits is recommended.

7.  A meeting place after the storm should also be established in case your family is not together when a storm hits.  This will aid in finding your family members and put your mind at ease.  Sometimes after strong storms go  through, there is no electricity and cell phones may lose their tower or be overwhelmed with call volume.

A little bit of pre-planning can make all the difference if tornado touches down near you.  Have a plan.  Make sure your family knows what to do. After all, you never know what the weather will do in Nebraska!