Sirens herald severe weather week

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, February 22, 2011

While the weather outside today is warm and beautiful, the threat of severe weather is always on the horizon. To make sure residents are prepared when it does occur, this week – Feb. 20-25 – has been declared “Severe Weather Week” statewide.

“This special week is a time for all Alabamians to learn and review the proper safety precautions necessary for protecting your life and your loved ones during deadly weather,” said Susan Harris, Covington County Emergency Management Agency director.

Harris said throughout the week, the National Weather Service (NWS), Alabama Emergency Management Agency, the local EMA and the American Red Cross will be conducting educational activities to help people learn how to prevent injuries and deaths from tornadoes, damaging winds, flash floods, lightning and hail.

“One might not realize it, but tornadoes, damaging winds, flash floods, lightning and hail all pose great danger to Alabama, and in turn, local residents,” Harris said. “Weather-related disasters do occur annually from these things.

“After nearly every disaster, the story is the same; people survive tornadoes because they know what to do,” she said. “By taking a few minutes to learn or review severe weather safety rules and procedures, you could save your life or the life of a friend or family member.”

Harris said a statewide tornado drill will be conducted on Wed., Feb. 23.

“The purpose of this drill is to give people an opportunity to determine if they can adequately receive a tornado watch or warning and to practice the actions necessary for protecting their lives and others in the event of a real tornado,” she said. “We encourage everyone’s participation in the drill to make it a meaningful practice. We will activate the sirens for the drill.”

Harris said the drill will be postponed to Fri., Feb. 25, if bad weather should occur Wednesday.

Alabama’s statewide drill is conducted jointly with a number of other southeastern states, she said.