The last week in March signifies Severe Weather Awareness Week!
- Monday – Severe Thunderstorms
- Tuesday – Weather Warnings
- Wednesday – Tornadoes
- Thursday – Family Preparedness
- Friday – Flash Floods
On Thursday, the 29th, there will be a statewide tornado safety drill. Test watch is at 10:00 a.m. central time and the test warning is at 10:15 a.m. central time.
Monday – Severe Thunderstorms:
Severe thunderstorms means lightning so it is best to stay inside and keep safe when there is thunder and lightning. Some lightning safety tips are:
- Seek safe shelter in a building or metal-topped vehicle with the windows up
- Stay in the safe shelter for at least 30 minutes after the last sound of thunder
- Stay off corded phones/computers/etc.
- Avoid plumbing
- Stay away from any windows, doors, and porches
- Do not lie on or lean against concrete
- Protect your pets! Keep them inside if at all possible!
- Never lie flat on the ground outside
- Never shelter under an isolated tree
- Get out of and away from areas of water
Tuesday – Weather Warnings:
There are multiple times of warnings, watches and advisories that can arise in severe weather. Some that we see in Nebraska often have to do with snow, tornadoes, high winds, and wind chill.
In Lancaster County, Lancaster County Emergency Management will participate in the free Central Plains Severe Weather Symposium aka WeatherFest at Innovation Campus on April 7th. WeatherFest is a community even focused on severe weather-related issues. You can find more information on this at https://weatherfest.unl.edu
Wednesday – Tornadoes
Spring is here which means tornadoes can occur any time! Signs that you can pay attention to before a tornado can occur are greenish or dark skies, larger than normal hail, rotating/dark/low-lying clouds, and large roars of thunder. It’s also a good idea to ake sure you know the difference between a watch and a warning.
Watch: If there is a watch this is a good time to be prepared for a tornado warning. A watch means that tornadoes are possible in and around the watch area. Make sure you have an emergency plan!
Warning: This means it is time to take action! Either a tornado has been sighted or indicated by the radar. Move to an interior room on the lowest floor and avoid windows.
Thursday – Family Preparedness
As far as family preparedness goes, this is a good time to start reviewing your family emergency response plan. You should make sure you and your family members know what to do and where to go in the event of severe weather.
Friday – Flash Floods
Some facts about flash floods are:
- Floods kill more people on average than tornadoes & lightning combined
- Flash floods are often the result of heavy rains associated with severe thunderstorms
- Nearly half of all flash flood fatalities are vehicle related
- DO NOT drive through flowing water as a mere 2 feet of water will carry away more vehicles
Check FEMA’s flood map service center for your area to know the flood risk for your community.
Further resources for staying prepared during severe weather can be found on the NEMA website, nema.nebraska.gov