March 19-25: Severe weather awareness week

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March 19-25: Severe weather awareness week

It is Severe Weather Awareness Week across the state of Ohio. 

After a winter that didn't provide much snow or cold and an early start to severe weather season, it is important to take a minute to review with your family what the plan is if severe weather strikes at your house.

The Ohio Committee for Severe Weather Awareness (OCSWA) and Governor John Kasich are encouraging all Ohioans to participate. The OCSWA is made up of 16 agencies throughout the state that are dedicated to educating communities in Ohio about natural disasters. 

A statewide tornado drill was held on Wednesday, March 22, 2017, at 9:50am, with school districts around the Miami Valley practicing their emergency plans.

“Whenever you can practice, whenever you can get the kids together and go through your procedures--it’s a good thing. - Ryan Gilding/Beavercreek City Schools

Your Storm Center 7 Team as well as the National Weather Service will be taking time throughout the week to help spread the word about severe weather safety. 

Spring can bring not only strong storms and tornadoes but even the last rounds of winter weather. Several tornadoes were already reported south and east of the Miami Valley in early March as well as snow, sleet and freezing rain mid-March.

Since Ohio weather can change quickly, it is key to understand what to do and where to go whether you are at home, work or school when severe weather develops. 

Severe Weather Awareness: Difference Between a Watch & Warning

Understanding what different watches and warnings mean as well is helpful. Remember a watch (severe thunderstorm or tornado) means conditions are favorable for either to develop. A warning (severe thunderstorm or tornado) means the activity is imminent or already occurring. Seek shelter immediately when a tornado warning is issued.

When it comes to seeking shelter, it can be helpful to remember this simple word, DUCK

- Get down to the lowest level you can

- Get under something sturdy (a staircase, heavy table or bench)

- Cover your head (with your hands, a pillow or helmet)

K - Keep in your shelter until the warnings have expired or an all clear has been given

Getting notified about watches and warnings either severe weather or winter weather related has been made easier with the WHIO Weather App. 

Watches and warning are pushed directly to your phone even when the app isn't opened. You can turn on winter weather alerts when the threat for snow or ice is in your spring forecast and tornado warnings will be sent automatically. 

You can also now sign up for lightning detection and get heavy rain alerts to help you when you are outside this spring season. You can download the WHIO Weather App in your App store for free. 

In the spring, the threat for flooding also increases so it is important to understand the difference between all the flood threats that could develop including river flooding and flash flooding. 

Never drive through standing water because it can be deeper than it appears. According to the National Weather Service it takes only six inches of rushing water to knock down an adult and only two feet of moving water to wash away a car. 

Download our free WHIO Storm Center 7 weather app to stay aware of severe weather anytime anywhere.

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