Governor Edwards Declares Severe Weather Awareness Week
Meteorologically speaking, it is now severe weather season for Southeastern Louisiana and Southern Mississippi. While tornadoes, damaging thunderstorm winds, large hail, and flash floods can occur at any time of the year, now through May is the time in which these hazards most often occur. As such, the week of February 29, 2016 has been designated "Severe Weather Awareness Week" for Louisiana. So as we flip the calendar from February to March, take a few minutes each day to be sure you and your family are aware and prepared for severe weather hazards before they happen.
National Weather Service Meteorologist-in-Charge Ken Graham said, "The recent tornado outbreak in Louisiana reminds us how critical advanced preparedness is for you, your family, and your place of work. When we issue severe weather warnings, know what action you need to take ahead of time as every second counts. Help us as we strive to build a Weather-Ready Nation by having a plan well before the next storm strikes."
What can you do to be ready? Develop a severe weather plan. The National Weather Service says that post-storm interviews with survivors confirm that having a safety plan in place greatly increases the chance of survival. A successful severe weather plan consists of knowing the meanings of watches and warnings, knowing safety rules pertinent to each severe weather hazard and having a reliable source of weather and emergency information.
During a severe weather situation, you may be advised to shelter in place or evacuate. Sheltering in place means going indoors, closing all windows and doors and staying put until the severe weather has passed and the all clear has been given by local officials. Evacuating requires families to have a plan for where they will go if their homes are unsafe. Identify several friends, family members or others that you can stay with during an evacuation. Remember: when severe weather hits, your original evacuation place may not be available, so you should have a backup plan.
An important part of every family or person’s severe weather plan is packing an emergency kit that includes the items they will need in case they have to shelter in place or evacuate because of severe weather. This kit should include, among other supplies: flashlights, extra batteries, a battery-powered radio and lantern, a first aid kit, canned food and a non-electric can opener, special medical items for any members of the family with special needs, high energy foods like peanut butter and jelly, crackers and granola bars, a utility knife, plastic sheeting, protective clothing and rainwear, a change of clothes for each family member and at least three gallons of water per person and pet. Stashing all supplies in one place will help families locate them in the event of a power outage. If a family must leave its home, the kit can go with them.
Throughout the week, we'll be reviewing the different types of hazards, important safety information and the meanings of watches and warnings.
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