FOUR STATE AREA — As many are still recovering from last month’s winter storm, we now turn our attention to National Severe Weather Preparedness Week.
National Weather Service is raising awareness about severe weather by urging the public to prepare early. This week is all about coming up with a severe weather plan and practicing it.
Keith Stammer, Jasper County Emergency Management, said, “The time to prepare for severe weather is now before it actually happens. We are getting into the severe storm season and now is the time to be thinking ahead.”
Severe weather can strike at any moment in the Four States. Every day this week the National Weather Service is working with Missouri and Kansas Emergency Management Agencies to inform the public about severe weather.
Kelsey Angle, Meteorologist In Charge,National Weather Service, Springfield, said, “We would like people to take some time to prepare for hazards that spring and summer brings in regards to the risk for severe thunderstorms including large hail, damaging winds and tornadoes and flash flooding.”
The Jasper County Emergency Manager says everyone needs to put an emergency plan in place, stay informed, and create an emergency kit.
“A good idea for a kit is to just put some everyday items in there. A change of clothing, some shoes, a few snack bars, a flashlight, batteries separatley a radio,”said Stammer.
He says its the community’s responsibility to be weather aware.
“In the May 22, 2011 tornado I was amazed at the number of people who did not know we were under a tornado watch that day. As a matter of policy when we set the sirens off we activate them for three minutes on and three minutes off until the storms passed. But we don’t do an all clear.”
He says families should have a preparedness plan for work, home, and school. Practicing now will make it easier to put it in place when its time.
“The thing to keep in mind is time. I’ve done some research and for our area the time between a tornado warning and a touchdown is only ten minutes. So with ten minutes in mind my advice is generally speaking the best place to shelter is where you are.”
There will be a statewide tornado drill at ten a.m. Tuesday, which Angle says is a good time to practice your safety plan.