Be alert when severe weather comes

Be alert when severe weather comes
Posted on 03/18/2019
Ominous clouds in the sky

After months of snowy weather, Mother Nature isn’t done yet. Warmer spring temperatures also bring storm season, and this year could bring more severe weather risks than normal.

AccuWeather’s U.S. tornado forecast shows a higher frequency of severe weather risks in the traditional Tornado Alley, and the most impacted states include Kansas. This means more potential for tornadoes and severe storms than the past three years.


Have a plan, and practice the plan

The best thing you can do prepare for an active spring storm season is to have a plan, make sure everyone in your family knows the plan, and practice it often.

Identify a safe location you and your family can easily get to in the event of a tornado. The best option is an underground space like a basement or storm cellar. If you don’t have a basement, look for a small room in your home that is close to the ground, far inside the building, and away from outside doors, windows and walls.

Be informed

Take advantage of the variety of weather information we have at our fingertips – seek out information from sources such as:

  • A NOAA weather radio

  • Local news stations

  • App-based weather prediction services

  • RADAR apps on your smartphone

  • The National Weather Service’s social media accounts – Facebook and Twitter

When sirens blare, take shelter

Modern weather equipment typically gives us the longest warning time for tornadoes in history, but news reports show that people often become complacent when they hear severe weather sirens.

Officials in Joplin, Mo., were able to sound the sirens for about 20 minutes before a tornado hit their community in 2011, but 162 people were killed. In Beauregard, Ala., earlier this month, officials were able to send out warnings 12 minutes before the tornado hit, but 23 people were killed.

In Lenexa, both the county and the city can sound the sirens.Each agency tests the sirens typically the first Wednesday of every month, depending  on the current weather conditions. A good practice when hearing the sirens during a test is to think what you would do  if severe weather were to happen right then. Are you driving or at work or at home? Know what you would do in each situation. So, when severe weather comes, make sure you heed the warnings and take shelter immediately.

For more information about how you can be prepared for a tornado or other severe weather, head to for tips, checklists and other helpful guides.

Published March 18, 2019