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City urges community to be prepared for severe weather

It is the time of year to be alert of severe weather and to educate your family on where to go and what to do in the event of inclement weather. In the event of severe weather conditions, you should monitor weather through your local news station or the National Weather Service at http://www.crh.noaa.gov/dmx/.

No matter what you are doing, any time you hear an outdoor warning siren go off, you should immediately seek shelter and take cover. If possible turn on a radio or TV to a local station for more information and possible emergency instructions. You can sign up for weather alerts through many television and weather stations. Remember, outdoor warning sirens are just that, outdoor warning. The sirens are meant to be heard outside to signal you to go indoors and seek shelter and are not meant to be heard inside your home or place of business.

Along with the TV and radio, NOAA weather radios are a safe way to receive watches and warnings when in your home or place of business and are very useful to receive watches and warnings at night. They can be purchased at most retail stores and can be easily programmed for your area.

Watches and Warnings

A Severe Thunderstorm Watch is issued by the National Weather Service when conditions are favorable for the development of severe thunderstorms. A severe thunderstorm is defined as a storm producing 1” or larger hail and winds of 58 mph or greater. They are issued for a 4-8 hour time period and are usually well in advance of the storm.

A Severe Thunderstorm Warning is issued by the National Weather Service when a severe thunderstorm is indicated by radar or a spotter reports a thunderstorm producing 1” or larger hail and wind 58 mph or greater. People in the warned area should see shelter immediately. Severe thunderstorms can produce tornadoes with little or no advanced warning. Severe thunderstorm warnings are usually issued for a duration of one hour. They can be issued without a severe thunderstorm watch already being in effect.

A Tornado Watch is issued by the National Weather Service when conditions are favorable for the formation of tornadoes. They are usually issued for a 4-8 hour time period and well in advance of the actual occurrence. During the watch, people should review their tornado safety plans and be prepared to move to a safe place.

A Tornado Warning is issued by the National Weather Service when a tornado is indicated by radar or sighted by trained spotters. People in the warned area should see shelter immediately. They can be issued without a tornado watch being in effect. Tornado warnings are usually issued for a duration of 30 minutes.

Seeking Shelter during a Tornado Warning

Home/Apartment

• Seek shelter in the lowest level of your home. If there is no basement, go to an inner hallway, or a smaller inner room without windows, such as a bathroom or closet. Keep away from all windows.

• If you do not have a basement, but are close to the Nevada Public Library, a Tornado Shelter is in the basement.

• For added protection, get under something strong, such as a workbench or heavy table.

• Cover your body with a blanket or sleeping bag.

• Take your car keys; should a tornado hit your area, your car may be operable, but keys would be lost in the rubble.

• Collect your Family Disaster Supplies Kit and keep it with you.

• Keep your pet on a leash or in a carrier.

• Get storm updates from The Weather Channel, your local TV or radio station, or NOAA Weather Radio.

• Stay indoors until officials say it is safe.

Work or School

• Go to the basement or to an inside hallway at the lowest level. Keep away from all windows.

• Avoid places with wide-span roofs such as gymnasiums, auditoriums, cafeterias, large hallways or shopping malls.

• Use your arms to protect your head and neck.

Mobile Homes

• Leave immediately and take shelter inside a building.

• If you do not have a basement, but are close to the Nevada Public Library, a Tornado Shelter is in the basement.

• Seek shelter on foot if possible. DO NOT DRIVE YOUR CAR! Do not get under a mobile home.

• If shelter is not available, lie in a ditch, ravine, culvert or low-lying area away from the unit.

• Use your arms or a piece of clothing to protect your head and neck.

• Plan ahead. Make arrangements with friends or neighbors that have basements. If the weather looks threatening, go there.

• Encourage your mobile home group to develop it’s own tornado shelter.

Outside

• Try to find a residence or other building to seek shelter in.

• Avoid areas with many trees.

• Do not seek shelter in a vehicle.

• Do not seek shelter under and overpass or bridge.

• Lie down flat in a gully, ditch, or low spot in the ground.

• Protect your head with your arms.

Motor Vehicles

• NEVER try to out-drive a tornado. Tornados can change direction quickly and can lift up a car or truck and toss it through the air.

• Stop immediately, get out and take shelter in a nearby building.

• If shelter is not available, lie in a ditch, ravine, culvert or low-lying area away from the vehicle.

• Use your arms or a piece of clothing to protect your head and neck.

• Do not get under or next to your vehicle; it may roll over on you.

(This is part one of two. Be sure to see next week’s Nevada Journal for severe weather check-lists.)

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