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Severe Weather Awareness Week

Severe Weather Awareness Week 2018 is March 5th - 9th. All week long, visit this page or join us on social media to find preparedness tips and information on severe weather and thunderstorms.

Citizens and businesses in Douglas County are at risk from severe weather and should be aware of the appropriate steps to take in order to ensure their safety should severe weather strike! This is why Douglas County Emergency Management has partnered with the Topeka National Weather Service and the Kansas Division of Emergency Management to request your participation in Kansas Severe Weather Awareness Week activities March 5 - 9, 2018.  Severe Weather Awareness Week is the perfect time to create and practice your severe weather plan at home, school, work, or any other place you or your family frequents. 

Severe Weather Awareness Week is the perfect time to create and practice your severe weather plan at home, school, work, or any other place you or your family frequents. It's also a great time to help your friends and neighbors get ready. Share your plan with them and encourage them to take the same actions!

Each day of Severe Weather Week, Douglas County Emergency Management will be focusing on different severe weather safety and preparedness topics. 
•    Monday:  Plan Ahead: Getting Alerts & Understanding Terminology
•    Tuesday: What to do when you get an alert (Statewide Tornado Drill)
•    Wednesday: Floods/Flash Floods 
•    Thursday: Thunderstorms and Lightning
•    Friday: Personal Preparedness and Business Continuity

Our office encourages you to follow along on our social media sites and  share your own stories of preparedness.

Know the Terminology: Watches vs. Warnings

One of the first steps to preparedness is knowing the difference between watches and warnings. This will help you determine which actions to take for your safety.

WATCHES are issued when a specific hazard is possible during a specific time range.  

  • TORNADO WATCH: Issued when the National Weather Service believes thunderstorms are likely to develop, become severe and produce tornadoes and/or large hail and damaging winds. 
  • SEVERE THUNDERSTORM WATCH: Issued when the National Weather Service believes thunderstorms are likely to develop, become severe and produce large hail and/or damaging winds.
  • ACTIONS TO TAKE: Identify where you will be during the watch time frame. Next, determine where you will take cover if a warning is issued. This may be on the road, at home, at work, at school, etc. Stay alert to changing weather conditions. 

WARNINGS are issued when a specific hazard is or is believed to be occurring.

  • SEVERE THUNDERSTORM WARNING: Issued when a severe thunderstorm is indicated by weather radar or a spotter reports at least 58 mph winds or 1 inch hail. 
  • TORNADO WARNING: Issued when a tornado has been sighted or indicated by weather radar. 
  • ACTIONS TO TAKE: Take action immediately! Move to the lowest level of the building to an interior room with no windows. Stay in that room until the thunderstorm has passed. 

Getting Your Warning:

No matter what method you choose, be sure you have more than 1 way to get severe weather alerts just in case one does not work. Here are a few suggestions.

  • NOAA WEATHER RADIO
  • Outdoor Warning Sirens
  • Call Notification System / Phone, Text & Email
  • Local TV & Radio Stations
  • Wireless Emergency Alerts (WEA)
  • Social Media and Cell Phone Applications 

Find out all the details here! 

Come back March 5th-9th for more!

The outdoor warning sirens will be activated in conjunction with the Statewide Tornado Drill at 10AM on Tuesday, March 6th. Use the drill to practice your plan and tell us how it went via Facebook or Twitter!

Douglas County has experienced a number of flooding and flash flooding events in recent and past years. We've also watched numerous events change lives across the country. Thunderstorms or prolonged rain events can quickly cause flooding/flash flooding. Visit our Floods/Flash Floods page for information how to prepare for and respond to those types of events.

Lightning and thunderstorms can be both beautiful and damaging. Tornadoes many times are what we focus on, but there is more to thunderstorms than you might think. Take a few moments and review some facts and safety tips surrounding lightning and thunderstorms.