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Are you prepared for severe weather?

March 23, 2022 | Julie Wasson | safety, severe weather, tips, weather
severe weather thunderstorm lightning

For Nebraska, winter was a bit meteorologically confusing, bringing us a mix of some severe weather and some surprises. We had bitterly cold days, strong wind storms, some unseasonably warm weather and even a few December tornadoes.

The arrival of spring means we can expect periods of thunderstorms, forceful winds, hail and tornadoes. We might also see flooding or flash flooding and, sometimes as late as May, we could see snow.

This week is Severe Weather Awareness Week in Nebraska, which serves to remind us that severe weather can strike quickly. It’s a good time to make sure you are prepared so that you and your family can stay safe.

Watches and warnings

A watch means you should be prepared because severe weather is possible. Check for forecast updates, monitor sky conditions and know where to take shelter, if needed.

A warning means you should take action because severe weather is imminent. Take shelter immediately, seek further information and check for forecast updates from local media and the weather service.


What is a “severe” thunderstorm? The National Weather Service applies specific criteria to storms of this level.

A thunderstorm is severe when it produces:

  • Quarter-size hail 1-inch or larger in diameter
  • Winds of at least 58 mph
  • A tornado

Thunderstorms can result in damage caused by wind, hail, lightning, flooding and flash flooding, and tornadoes.


The following tips will help you be ready to react if a tornado occurs:

  • Have a plan of action before severe weather strikes. You need to respond quickly when a warning is issued or a tornado is spotted.
  • Know how your community sends weather warnings. Some use outdoor sirens, while others depend on media and smartphones to alert residents.
  • Pick a tornado-safe room in your home, such as a basement, cellar or interior room on the lowest level with no windows. Ensure all members of your family know what to do in a severe weather situation.

The National Weather Service held its statewide tornado drill Wednesday, and it has some additional guidance on staying safe during tornado season here.

Be prepared

Each household is encouraged to come up with a weather plan and designate a safe room or area in the home should the need to take shelter arise.

Be sure to have an emergency kit packed and stored so that if an emergency arises, you won’t have to waste time scrambling to collect essentials. Prepare an emergency kit to have on hand should severe weather strike.

WEA_Severe Weather Awareness Week 2022

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About Julie Wasson

Julie Wasson is the brand journalism strategist at Omaha Public Power District and the editor of The Wire. She has more than 25 years of print journalism and social media experience, including two stints at the Omaha World-Herald.

View all posts by Julie Wasson >

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