CLANTON – Governor Kay Ivey has declared the week of February 18th – February 23rd as “Severe Weather Awareness Week” in Alabama. The Alabama Emergency Management Agency (AEMA), the National Weather Service (NWS) in Alabama and other agencies are encouraging everyone to build an emergency kit, create an emergency communications plan and practice with family members to ensure everyone knows what to do and where to go before, during and after any storm.
“Looking back on 2017, we are reminded of the importance of being prepared for severe weather,” Governor Ivey said. “I urge all citizens to remain prepared at all times for bad weather, but to especially use the week of February 18th through the 23rd to ensure their homes and their families are ready for the severe weather season.”
According to the National Weather Service, Alabama’s primary severe weather season is March, April and May.
“Based on historical data, Alabama is more likely to experience severe weather during the primary tornado season, however it is important for residents to be prepared every day,” Alabama EMA Director Brian E. Hastings said. “Severe weather can develop quickly and during any month. It is important to plan ahead and know the appropriate steps to help build a culture of preparedness. The steps you take may help save your life and your family members.”
AEMA and the NWS will focus on the following specific severe weather themes during severe weather awareness week.
- Monday, Feb. 19: Severe Thunderstorms and Watches/Warnings. Lightning, large hail and damaging winds from severe storms are just as dangerous as tornadoes.
- Tuesday, Feb. 20: Flash Flooding. Flooding is the number one cause of weather-related deaths behind heat. Remember… Turn Around, Don’t Drown.
- Wednesday, Feb. 21: Tornado Safety and Preparedness. The NWS is encouraging everyone to conduct their own “tornado safety drill”. This drill can be accomplished in conjunction with the weekly NOAA All-Hazards Radio test that will run at a special time at 9:00 a.m.
- Thursday, Feb. 22: Lightning. All thunderstorms are accompanied by lightning, which can be deadly. Remember… When the Thunder Roars, Go Indoors.
- Friday, Feb. 23: Receiving Severe Weather Information. There are numerous ways to receive weather alerts from your cellphones to weather radios and mass notification systems.
Local weather information and alerts are available through the NWS online at the following websites.
- Northern Alabama counties: https://www.weather.gov/hun/
- Central Alabama counties: https://www.weather.gov/bmx/
- Southern Alabama counties: https://www.weather.gov/mob/ or https://www.weather.gov/tae//
Having a NOAA weather radio is a great tool to receive official warnings, watches, forecasts and other hazard information 24 hours a day, seven days a week from your nearest NWS office. County emergency management agencies can also provide area specific information. A list of all county EMA directors can be found here https://ema.alabama.gov/county-ema-directory/.