Everyone who knows me, knows that I love weather. My closest friends fondly refer to me as the Tropical Junkie. So it should come as no surprise for me to say that SearchAmelia is proudly promoting National Severe Weather Preparedness Week March 3-9, 2013.
During this week we will be sharing articles and personal stories with our community to help you better prepare for severe weather threats in our area.
Sponsored by the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) and the National Oceanic Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), National Severe Weather Preparedness Week is a nationwide effort to increase awareness of severe weather and to motivate individuals, families, businesses, and communities to take actions that will prepare them in the event of severe weather.
Each year, individuals are killed or seriously injured by tornadoes and other types of severe weather, despite advance warning. In 2012, there were more than 450 weather-related fatalities and nearly 2,600 injuries. Severe weather knows no boundaries and affects every individual.
It was March 2, 2012, when my daughter’s community was devasted by tornados that hit Southern Indiana. After his school was destroyed, my grandson, Jason, finished the school year here in Fernandina Beach. Having lived in that area myself when I was younger, I was always fascinated by thunderstorms. Where most adults I know remember school fire drills, in that area of the country we had tornado drills, too.
Know Your Risk:
The first step to becoming weather-ready is to understand the type of hazardous weather that can affect where you live and work, and how the weather could impact you and your family. Every state in the United States has experienced tornadoes and severe weather, so everyone is exposed to some degree of risk.
Tornadoes may not be our biggest threat in Fernandina Beach, but according to TornadoHistoryProject.com, Nassau County, Florida had 28 tornadoes between March 31, 1961 and January 21, 2010. Remember, only ONE tornado can change your life forever.
Wildfires, scorching temperatures, severe thunderstorms, floods, hurricanes, and some people will include tsunamis in this list, are other weather hazards that may occur in our area.
Check the weather forecast regularly and visit ready.gov/severe-weather to learn more about how to be better prepared and how you can protect your family during emergencies.
Nassau County’s Emergency Mangement office has published a 2012 All-Hazards Preparedness Guide. CLICK HERE to review or print this pdf document.
Even Al Roker is a Force of Nature:
Pledge and Take Action:
Be Force of Nature by taking the Pledge to Prepare at ready.gov/severe-weather. When you pledge to prepare, you will take the first step to making sure that you and your family are prepared for severe weather. This includes filling out your family communications plan that you can email to yourself, putting an emergency kit together, keeping important papers and valuables in a safe place, and getting involved.
Obtain a NOAA Weather Radio, and check to see if your cell phone is equipped to receive Wireless Emergency Alerts and sign up for localized alerts, like CodeRed, from emergency management officials. Stay informed by having multiple sources for weather alerts – NOAA Weather Radio, Weather.gov, and Wireless Emergency Alerts.
Be an Example:
Once you have taken action, share your story with your family and friends. Create a YouTube video, post your story on Facebook, comment on a blog, or send a tweet.
Studies show that many people use social media in the event of a disaster to let relatives and friends know they are safe.
My facebook friends and family living in the Kentuckiana area kept me informed, in real time, of what was going on when the storms hit Henryville, Indiana. I was unable to reach my daughter directly. Phone lines were down and the cell towers were overloaded with calls. Messages were being sent via friends and family to communities with electricity, phone lines and internet. The first communication I received directly from my daughter was a text message I received nearly two hours after the tornadoes hit. It is interesting to mention however, she received the text messages I was sending to her; it was only her outgoing responses that were delayed.
This is also an important trend because people are most likely to take preparedness steps if they observe the preparations taken by others. (You know… “Monkey see, monkey do” can be a VERY GOOD thing!)
While we hope to publish helpful information all week, you can learn more about the different types of severe weather such as tornadoes, severe thunderstorms and flooding is available at www.weather.gov.