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Severe Weather Awareness Week April 16-20

April 16, 2012
By Tammy VanOverbeke , Marshall Independent

Emergency Management Director of Lyon County

What type of severe weather do we normally have in Lyon County in the spring and summer months?

The most common kind of severe weather we can expect is severe thunderstorms and possibly tornadoes. Severe thunderstorms usually include hail, damaging winds, heavy rains and sometimes flash flooding. These storms can cause quite a bit of damage! Last July 1, we had a severe thunderstorm affecting most of Lyon County, and we had pretty significant damage.

Tornadoes are vortexes of high winds that come in contact with the ground and travel, causing damage in their path.

There are basically two severe weather terms we need to understand.

A WATCH means conditions are favorable for severe weather. Watches are set for a set period of time, such as 1-3 p.m. These watches can expire early or be extended. During a watch you should keep an eye on the sky. Consider moving outdoor furniture or plants inside, put the car in the garage, keep a close eye on children playing outside, etc.

A WARNING means severe weather is going to happen, it is imminent. You need to take immediate action to protect life and property. Warnings also are given with a set timeline. They can expire early or be extended. You should take a battery operated radio (preferably a NOAA Weather Radio) to your safe area with you to keep updated.

With advances in technology over the past years, the National Weather Service is able to provide even more advanced warning. Sometimes over half an hour! You need to take immediate shelter and STAY in the shelter until the warning expires. Weather is not an exact science, so don't count on the forecasting being exact.

Your shelter area should be in the lowest floor of a sturdy building, preferably a basement. Under the steps, or under a sturdy bench or piece of furniture is best. If there is no basement, the lowest level in an area with no windows is best. (Not a hallway!) Get as many walls between you and the outside as possible. Cover yourself with a canvas, mattress, sleeping bags, etc. Trailer or motor homes are never safe in a severe storm.

Sirens are always used as a warning. Sirens are never sounded for an all-clear. The all-clear is when the warning expires and that time is given at the time of the warning. Sirens are designed as outdoor warning devices. So you need a weather radio or TV or something else to provide warning indoors. Especially in the middle of the night!

Stay tuned for more severe weather information!



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