Get Prepared: Spring Severe Weather Awareness Week

(WAUSEON, OH — We’ve nearly escaped winter and spring is upon us! As you are getting started on your spring cleaning projects around your home, this is a perfect time to also become prepared for the severe weather that comes with the spring and summer months.

“Fulton County is not immune to serious weather and natural disasters,” states Heather Kost, Fulton County Emergency Management Agency Director. “In 2015, we saw flooding that we hadn’t seen in years, and we had our fair share of Tornado Warnings and Severe Thunderstorms as well.” Because Mother Nature is unpredictable, Kost notes that dealing with unplanned events can be very stressful. “I always encourage our households in Fulton County to be prepared. This can alleviate a lot of stress during these unplanned events.”

Kost recommends to get educated. “There are a lot of great resources available on the internet and at our local libraries.” Fulton County has an alert system through their website at www.fultoncountyoh.com called Notify Me. Citizens can sign up to receive either a text or email notice of severe weather in the area. The Fulton County EMA as well as the Fulton County Sheriff’s Office both maintain Facebook pages which also post up-to-date information.

Fulton County will be participating in a statewide tornado drill and test its Emergency Alert System (EAS) on Wednesday, March 23 at 9:50 a.m., as a part of Severe Weather Awareness Week (unless there is severe weather in the area at that time). During this time, Ohio counties will sound and test their outdoor warning sirens.

Schools, businesses and households are encouraged to practice their tornado drills and emergency plans.

The Ohio Committee for Severe Weather Awareness provides the following information:

Know Your Risk- Learn and understand the different types of weather hazards that occur in Ohio. Know how severe weather could impact your household, your job, and your community. Ohio’s springtime hazards include tornadoes, thunderstorms, floods, and even snowstorms through early spring. Visit the OCSWA website at www.weathersafety.ohio.gove to view current weather in Ohio, and to review severe weather safety and preparedness information.

During tornado drills or actual tornado warnings, remember to DUCK!
D — Go DOWN to the lowest level
U – Get UNDER something (such as a basement staircase or heavy table or desk)
C – COVER your head
K – KEEP in shelter until the storm has passed

Know the Weather Terms – Know the difference between storm watches and storm warnings. For example, a tornado watch is issued by the National Weather Service when conditions are favorable for the development of tornados in and close to the area. During a tornado watch, review tornado safety plans and be prepared to move to a safe place if conditions worsen. Listen to a NOAA Weather Radio or local TV or radio stations newscasts for storm updates.

A tornado warning is issued by the NWS when a tornado has been detected by Doppler radar or sighted by trained storm spotters. If a tornado warning is issued for your area, do not stop to take pictures or shoot video. Seek safe shelter immediately. Many Ohio counties have outdoor warning sirens that sound during storm warnings. Continue to listen to your NOAA Weather Radio or TV or radio newscasts for up-to-date weather information.

Another way to receive notification of severe weather and other emergencies is through your mobile device. Wireless Emergency Alerts (WEA) are emergency messages sent by authorized government alerting authorities through your mobile carrier. WEAs can alert you of extreme weather warnings, local emergencies requiring evacuation or immediate action. AMBER Alerts, and Presidential Alerts during a national emergency.

Know the difference between flood warnings, watches and advisories.

A Flash Flood Warning is issued by the NWS when flash flooding is imminent or occurring. If you are in a flood-prone area, move to higher ground immediately. A flash flood is a sudden violent flood that can take from minutes to hours to develop.

A Flood Warning is issued when the hazardous weather event is imminent or already happening. Listen to EAS Messages for possible evacuation orders.

A Flood Watch is issued when conditions are favorable for flooding to occur. A watch does not mean flooding will occur, but it is possible.

A Flood Advisory is issued when flooding is not expected to be bad enough to issue a warning. However, the weather event could cause significant inconvenience. Caution should be exercised.

During any weather event (flood watches, tornado warnings, severe thunderstorms), continue listening to local weather reports via radio, television or NOAA Weather Radio.

INFORMATION PROVIDED

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