NASHVILLE –The National Weather Service, the Tennessee Emergency Management Agency and supporting groups are conducting educational activities and drills to help people prevent injuries and deaths from tornadoes, damaging winds, flash floods, lightning and hail during Severe Weather Awareness Week starting Sunday, Feb. 21, 2010.
As warmer temperatures brush away the last lingering snow, Tennesseans should hardly need a reminder that severe weather can be powerful and often has deadly consequences for those persons that confront it unawares and unprepared.
“Every year, there are unnecessary and preventable deaths during bouts of severe weather,” said James Bassham, Director of the Tennessee Emergency Management Agency. “Our goal in raising awareness of severe weather and personal preparedness is to prevent some of those tragedies by educating the public on ways to improve their safety and the preparedness of their communities.”
Each day during Severe Weather Awareness Week, there will be a focus on a specific type of severe weather or the warning and drill systems.
The focus on Monday will be on flooding, which is the No. 1 weather-related cause of fatalities. Rising waters may look calm, but can harbor a host of hidden dangers and currents that are strong enough to easily wash away a vehicle. The driving public should always remember the message, “Turn Around; Don’t Drown!”
On Wednesday, there will be a state-wide tornado drill between 9 a.m. and 9:30 local time. Schools, state and county agencies and any other interested group is encouraged to participate and learn the life saving rules and how to take appropriate and timely actions. In 2009, Tennessee had 39 counties affected by tornadoes. There were two fatalities state-wide and 62 injuries. Tornado damage estimates for the year exceeded $100 million, according to the National Weather Service. At TEMA, the state’s 24-hour Operations Center recorded more than 1,100 severe weather events, warnings and missions in 2009.
To see the 2010 Severe Weather Awareness Week Brochure, please visit www.tnema.org and click on Family Preparedness.