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Be ‘weather-ready’ during Severe Weather Awareness Week.

March 22, 2021 | Jason Kuiper | safety, severe weather, weather
A bolt of lightning goes from cloud to ground from a dark sky.

This week marks Severe Weather Awareness Week in Nebraska and the National Weather Service wants everyone to be ready when severe weather threatens.

Tornado drills will resume this year in Nebraska and Iowa after being suspended last year due to COVID-19. They will be held Wednesday, March 24, at 11 a.m.

Typically, businesses use the statewide tornado drill to practice their safety plans of where to shelter so employees are aware of their designated safe spots. This year, with social distancing still encouraged, many businesses, including OPPD, are reminding employees to be sure to be socially distant in shelter locations and to ensure everyone remains masked.

Remote workers are encouraged to be prepared with their own personal safety plans during the drills.

“We want all Nebraskans to take some time during Severe Weather Awareness Week to prepare for spring and summer severe weather,” said Bryan Tuma, assistant director of the Nebraska Emergency Management Agency. “The devastating impacts of extreme events can be reduced through improved readiness. Make a safety plan, create a preparedness kit and review proper safety precautions. It’s just a good practice for those of us who live in areas affected by tornadoes, floods and severe thunderstorms.”

Two years ago at this time, much of the state was battling historic flooding. There were five flood-related fatalities in 2019 compared to four the previous eight years combined, according to the National Weather Service. Hundreds of millions of dollars in damages were also incurred in addition to the loss of lives.

With the Midwest and Nebraska in particular known for severe weather of nearly every imaginable type, this week is a good time to make sure you know how to protect yourself and your family during severe weather. In Nebraska, spring can mean thunderstorms, strong winds, hail, tornadoes, flash floods, and yes, even snowstorms. That means Nebraskans must be prepared for all kinds of weather situations and hazards.

A simple reminder is when there is a tornado or thunderstorm watch, that means to be prepared. When there is a warning issued, that means take action.

Some good tips from the National Weather Service on staying safe during tornado season can be found here.

Each family is encouraged to come up with a weather plan and designate a safe room in the house should the need to take shelter arise. Also, be sure to pack flashlights and a wireless radio in the room so you listen to weather updates on the local news. Make sure to have extra batteries too.



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About Jason Kuiper

Jason Kuiper joined OPPD as a communications specialist in 2015. He is a former staff writer and reporter at the Omaha World-Herald, where he covered a wide range of topics but spent the majority of his career covering crime. He is a graduate of the University of Nebraska at Omaha and has also appeared in several true crime documentary shows. In his free time he enjoys cooking, spending time with his wife and three children, and reading crime novels.

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