National Severe Weather Preparedness Week: Know Your Risk

Date Posted: February 28, 2014

Each year, people are killed or seriously injured by tornadoes and other types of severe weather, despite advance warning. In May 2013, tornadoes devastated portions of Oklahoma. This outbreak included the deadliest tornado of the year on May 20 in Moore, Oklahoma where an EF5 tornado struck (winds in excess of 200 mph). The Moore tornado is estimated to have caused approximately $2 billion in property damage. Know your risk during National Severe Weather Preparedness WeekMarch 2-8.

Gather information about hazards by contacting your local emergency management office, American Red Cross chapter and National Weather Service weather forecast office. Knowing and understanding this information ahead of time will help you prepare by understanding what types of disasters could occur and how best to respond and protect yourself. It is also critical to learn your community’s warning signals and emergency plans.

Watches and warnings from the National Weather Service could save your life. Learn the difference between a watch and a warning.

A watch lets you know that weather conditions are favorable for a hazard to occur. It literally means “be on guard!” During a weather watch, gather awareness of the specific threat and prepare for action — monitor the weather to find out if severe weather conditions have deteriorated and prepare to take shelter

A warning requires immediate action. This means a weather hazard is imminent — it is either occurring (a tornado has been spotted, for example) — or it is about to occur. Find safe shelter immediately.

Take the Next Step

View the “What’s a Watch?” video that explains the difference between weather watches and warnings. And share it with your family!