State observance focuses on severe weather awareness
Posted: Friday, February 25, 2011 9:14 pm
By CHRIS MENEES
Obion County Emergency Management director Danny Jowers was keeping an eye to the sky Thursday — in between keeping an eye on local tornado drills.
Ironically, this week’s observance of Tennessee Severe Weather Awareness Week included heavy rain and thunderstorms in the forecast.
In addition to monitoring the weather closely, Jowers has stayed busy all this week helping to conduct tornado drills at county and city elementary schools and day cares, as well as reviewing emergency weather plans at several local businesses and nursing homes.
Jowers said many of the local schools conducted tornado drills all on their own.
“We’re getting good when we do that,” he said.
Tennessee Severe Weather Awareness Week kicked off Sunday and will end Saturday. With spring and warmer temperatures fast approaching, Jowers said now is the time to think about severe weather and to ensure everyone is properly prepared.
“This is the week to think about it. People need to go over basic plans,” he said.
Throughout this past week, the National Weather Service, Tennessee Emergency Management Agency and other supporting groups have been conducting educational activities and drills to help people prevent injuries and deaths from tornadoes, damaging winds, flash floods, lightning and hail. Each day of the week focused on a specific type of severe weather or on the warning and drill system.
The week kicked off Sunday by highlighting the importance of weather spotters, followed by Monday’s focus on the hazards of flooding and flash floods and Tuesday’s focus on lightning — often called the “underrated killer.” Wednesday placed an emphasis on tornado safety, while Thursday focused on severe thunderstorms — which are much more frequent than tornadoes in the Mid-South, according to the National Weather Service. Today was designated as NOAA Weather Radio and Emergency Alert System Day.
TEMA posted a series of severe weather educational videos on the agency’s website, www.tnema.org, and Facebook page, www.facebook.com/TNDisasterInfo, covering topics such as flood, fire and winter weather safety.
Jointly, the National Weather Service and TEMA distributed the 2011 Severe Weather Awareness brochure to schools, businesses and individuals across the state. Highlights include thunderstorm and lightning safety tips; an explanation of the differences between weather watches and warnings; tornado strength and how it’s gauged by the Enhanced Fujita Scale; information about the May 2010 flooding and rainfall totals; a SKYWARN® spotter training schedule; a map showing the state’s StormReady® counties; and detailed information about an upcoming earthquake exercise.
The entire 2011 Severe Weather Awareness brochure can be downloaded at www.tnema.org/public/documents/swx2011brochure.pdf.
Staff Reporter Chris Menees may be contacted by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Published in The Messenger 2.25.11