Severe Weather Awareness Week Begins Sunday

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NASHVILLE — The Tennessee Emergency Management Agency (TEMA) and National Weather Service (NWS) are promoting preparedness for families, individuals and businesses during Tennessee Severe Weather Awareness Week, Feb. 19, to Feb. 25, 2012.

"Tennessee has experienced two years of unprecedented natural disasters and individual preparedness is more important than ever, said TEMA Director James Bassham. "Emergencies and disasters can happen anywhere and anytime so we hope Tennessee citizens will take an active role in the preparedness of their families, their neighborhoods and their communities."

Throughout the week, NWS, TEMA and other support≠ing groups will conduct educational activities and drills to help people prevent injuries and deaths from tornadoes, damaging winds, flash floods, lightning, and hail.

TEMA is announcing the release of a new mobile, smartphone application, Ready TN.

Ready TN is a tool to help citizens know the hazards in their community and the preparations they should take to be ready for any emergency. The application provides location-based information on severe weather, road conditions, open shelters and local government contacts. Preparedness tips for specific hazards and checklists for emergency kit items are also provided in the application's content.

The Ready TN smartphone application is currently available in the Android Market by searching for Ready TN. The application is under development for use on the Apple iPhone.

The NWS will use the week to focus on severe weather preparedness, safety and warnings. Specific weather threats such as tornadoes or lightning, along with NOAA Weather Radio and Skywarn storm spotters, will be highlighted on individual days.

This year's statewide tornado drill will be initiated with a special NOAA Weather Radio test around 9:30 a.m., CST, on Wed., Feb. 22, 2012.

"Tennessee is vulnerable to virtually every type of weather hazard imaginable", said NWS Warning Coordination Meteorologist Tom Johnstone. "It is critical that our residents understand the threats, have multiple ways to receive severe weather warnings, and have a plan to quickly get to a safe place when a warning is issued."

Jointly, NWS and TEMA plan to distribute the 2012 Severe Weather Awareness brochure to schools, businesses and individuals.

The brochure is available at
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