Preparing for severe weather season

BOWLING GREEN, Ky. – It is Severe Weather Awareness Week in Kentucky and as we prepare to enter our main severe weather season, now is the time to develop a plan and put that plan into practice. It is also a great idea to make sure you have several ways of receiving watch and warning information, such as a weather radio or an alerts app.

Caitlyn French with the Warren County Emergency Management office explains the importance of this preparedness week.

“We kind of try and place it in front of the severe weather months to get is in the idea of okay, severe weather. What are our threats? How do we need to prepare for it, what can we do? And that way we do have time to prepare, we do have time to recognize what threats we see, specifically here in Kentucky.”

Throughout the week, the National Weather Service shares various tips on how to prepare for severe weather. Perhaps the most vital aspect of the preparedness week is the annual statewide tornado drill, which tests emergency alert systems, weather radios, and outdoor warning sirens.

“If you’re inside of a building, you probably won’t hear the siren unless it’s right outside of your building,” says French. “So then you need to make sure; do you have some kind of way to get it on your phone, do you have your weather radio, do you have that avenue? And then what do you do with it? I’ve got the information, where do I take cover? Do I know where I’m going to go? Do I have a kit, do I know where my kits are? Do I know what my communication plan is with my family?

Meteorologist Christine Wielgos with the National Weather Service Forecast Office in Paducah, Kentucky says when the drill occurs, that is the time to act out your tornado safety procedures as if an actual tornado warning had been issued.

“At that time, you should be practicing your drills. Where you’re going to go, how long does it take you to get to your place of shelter, whether that is at your home or it is requiring you to leave your home, whatever it may be for your specific situation, it is imperative that you have a plan in place and that you practice that plan.”

Wielgos believes many people in our area are informed and have an idea of where they will go during severe weather. However, she hopes this preparedness week reaches a group of people who may not be naturally weather-aware.

“I believe there are a lot of people that think weather is a nuisance, it gets in their way, it’s more of a problem, and we’ve got to find a way to integrate weather into our daily lives,” says Wielgos.

While this week only happens once a year, there is never a bad time to prepare for inclement weather. The National Weather Service and FEMA are great resources for receiving preparedness tips and educational information. Click here for tips from the Ready campaign, and click here for more information from the National Weather Service.