National Weather Service United States Department of Commerce
Severe Weather Awareness Week
 
Severe Weather Awareness Week in New York


This week we will be covering the following topics:

Sunday (April 29): Introduction

Monday (April 30): Severe Weather Terminology


Tuesday (May 1): Thunderstorms

Wednesday (May 2): Preparedness

Thursday (May 3): Tornadoes

Friday (May 4): Flooding

Saturday (May 5): Communications

In addition, to help the people of New York prepare for severe weather, there will be one drill conducted during the week.

Test Tornado Warning Drill
Thursday, May 3 at 1:15 PM

Sunday, April 29
...SEVERE WEATHER AWARENESS WEEK BEGINS...

The National Weather Service and the New York State Office of 
Emergency Management have proclaimed April 29 to May 5 Severe 
Weather Awareness Week in New York State. The National Weather 
Service will be working in partnership with several agencies of the 
New York State Disaster Preparedness Commission and the New York 
State Broadcasters Association to inform residents of the potential 
dangers associated with flash flooding, tornadoes, and severe 
thunderstorms.

We will also recommend ways New Yorkers can protect themselves and 
their families from those hazards. These safety tips will be issued 
as Public Information Statements as well as Facebook posts and 
Twitter feeds throughout the week. All media outlets are being urged 
to disseminate these important messages to their readers, viewers, 
and listeners.

Communications capabilities for warning dissemination will be tested 
across the Empire State during a hazardous weather drill scheduled 
for Thursday May 3rd at 1:15 PM. These capabilities include the 
National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration's NOAA All Hazards 
Weather Radio (NWR). Volunteer broadcasters will use this 
opportunity to test the Emergency Alert System (EAS).

Internally, the communications drills will give National Weather 
Service staff the opportunity to practice skills usually applied 
under stress. Externally, the statewide drills give public safety 
and preparedness officials, the broadcast media, and all New Yorkers 
the opportunity to test their planned methods of receiving emergency 
weather messages. Recipients of the warning messages such as 
schools, hospitals, nursing homes, businesses, and individuals can 
use this opportunity to see if they are prepared to deal effectively 
with sudden, dangerous weather situations. Practicing our response 
to hazardous weather or flood threats can pay big dividends when 
actual disasters occur.
Monday, April 30
...SEVERE WEATHER AWARENESS WEEK CONTINUES...

The National Weather Service and the New York State Office of 
Emergency Management have proclaimed April 29 to May 5 Severe 
Weather Awareness Week in New York State.

To reduce your chances of being killed or injured by severe weather, 
it is important to understand the meaning of severe weather watches 
and warnings.

Severe thunderstorms are defined as those thunderstorms that produce 
winds of 58 mph or greater, hail of one inch in diameter or larger, 
or a tornado.

A Severe Thunderstorm Watch means that severe thunderstorms are 
possible over the next several hours.

A Severe Thunderstorm Warning means that severe thunderstorms are 
imminent or occurring. You should seek shelter immediately when a 
severe thunderstorm warning is issued.

Even if a thunderstorm is not considered severe, it is always a good 
idea to go indoors since lightning is a potential threat. By 
definition, all thunderstorms contain lightning, and all lightning 
is dangerous.

A Tornado Warning means that a tornado is imminent or occurring. 
Take shelter immediately on the lowest floor of a sturdy building 
away from windows which can shatter.

A flash flood warning means that flooding is imminent or occurring. 
Flood waters can rise rapidly. Move to higher ground immediately 
when a flash flood warning is issued.

NOAA Weather Radio offers the best way to stay in touch with extreme 
weather conditions 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. Your National 
Weather Service highly recommends everyone have access to a NOAA 
Weather Radio. 

For more information about severe weather safety visit the following 
website: www.nws.noaa.gov/os/thunderstorm 
Tuesday, May 1
...SEVERE WEATHER AWARENESS WEEK CONTINUES...

The National Weather Service and the New York State Office of 
Emergency Management have proclaimed April 29 to May 5 Severe 
Weather Awareness Week in New York State.

With the beginning of spring in New York and the gradual return of 
warmer weather comes the increasing likelihood of thunderstorms. As 
is usually the case, a few of these storms can bring damaging winds, 
large hail, flooding rains, and dangerous lightning.

The National Weather Service defines a severe thunderstorm as one 
which produces wind gusts of at least 58 miles an hour (50 knots) 
and/or hail of one inch in diameter or larger. Frequent cloud to 
ground lightning and torrential rain which can often accompany them, 
does not define severe thunderstorms.

When forecasters at the National Weather Service Storm Prediction 
Center, in consultation with the forecasters at the National Weather 
Service in Buffalo, determine that atmospheric conditions favor the 
formation of severe thunderstorms within the next 6 hours, a Severe 
Thunderstorm Watch is issued. A watch usually covers several 
counties and means that damaging winds or large hail are possible 
though not yet a certainty.

You can continue your normal activities when a Severe Thunderstorm 
Watch is in effect for your county, however you should remain alert 
to the possibility of severe storms and be prepared to take quick 
action. Keep a close eye on the sky for threatening weather 
conditions and be ready to move to safe shelter if necessary.

Boaters may wish to stay closer to shore and safe harbor.

Have a NOAA Weather Radio handy or check with your favorite radio or 
TV station for the latest weather.

Severe Thunderstorm Warnings are issued when a severe storm is 
either detected on weather radar or reported by storm spotters or 
law enforcement to be occurring. When a warning is in effect, you 
should take quick action to protect yourself. Go indoors in a sturdy 
building, away from windows which can shatter, or doors which can 
swing open from the wind. The best place in a building is a small 
interior room or hallway on the lowest floor. Avoid using corded 
telephones or other electrical appliances unless it's an emergency.

Boaters should get to shore and safe harbor immediately or get below 
deck.

If you are driving, be alert to the possibility of road flooding. Do 
not drive where water is covering the road. The water may be hiding 
a washout, and it only takes a few feet of rapidly flowing water to 
sweep away your vehicle. 

For more information about severe weather safety visit our website 
at www.nws.noaa.gov/os/thunderstorm
Wednesday, May 2
...SEVERE WEATHER AWARENESS WEEK CONTINUES...

The National Weather Service and the New York State Office of 
Emergency Management have proclaimed April 29 to May 5 Severe 
Weather Awareness Week in New York State.

The National Weather Service in partnership with the agencies of the 
New York State Disaster Preparedness Commission, local agencies, 
volunteer agencies, and private sector organizations are urging all 
New Yorkers to learn how to protect themselves from the hazards of 
flooding, tornadoes, and severe thunderstorms.

There are several steps you can take before, during, and after a 
storm to keep safe this spring and summer.

Before a storm, develop a plan for you and your family at home, 
school, work, and when you are outdoors. Identify in advance a safe 
place to take shelter, and conduct frequent drills.

Know what action you will take when a warning is issued. Know the 
county where you are located and the names of nearby towns. The 
National Weather Service references county, town, and city names in 
the warnings that are issued. Know where to tune to receive the 
latest weather information.

During severe weather, postpone outdoor activities if thunderstorms 
are imminent. Move to a sturdy building or car. Stay away from tall 
objects such as towers, isolated tall trees, and telephone poles. If 
caught outdoors, find a low spot. Make sure your choice is not 
susceptible to flooding. If you are in the woods, take shelter under 
smaller trees. If you are boating or swimming, seek shelter on land 
immediately.

If a tornado warning is issued, move to a place of safety, 
preferably a basement or interior room. A car is not a safe location 
during a tornado. Stay away from windows. Get as low to the ground 
as possible, and cover your head. If you are caught outdoors and a 
tornado threatens, lie flat in a ditch or depression and cover your 
head with your hands. Be aware of flying debris, which causes the 
most fatalities and injuries during a tornado.

Mobile homes offer little protection from a tornado. Evacuate your 
mobile home and move to your designated place of safety.

After the severe weather has cleared, get medical care quickly at 
the nearest hospital if necessary. If the power is out, use 
flashlights, not flammable objects such as candles, torches, or 
lanterns. Report broken or downed utility lines to authorities. Boil 
drinking water before use. Do not visit disaster areas.

Your chances of remaining safe during severe weather are greater if 
you follow these safety rules. You should prepare now for the 
upcoming severe weather season.

For more information about severe weather safety visit out website 
at www.nws.noaa.gov/os/thunderstorm 
Thursday, May 3
...SEVERE WEATHER AWARENESS WEEK CONTINUES...

The National Weather Service and the New York State Office of 
Emergency Management have proclaimed April 29 to May 5 Severe 
Weather Awareness Week in New York State.

A hazardous weather communications drill is scheduled for today at 
1:15 PM. A test warning will be issued statewide at that time via 
our Special Weather Statement product. This will give all New 
Yorkers, from emergency responders to the general public, the 
opportunity to see if they are able to receive vital information on 
potential weather hazards. The drill also gives National Weather 
Service forecasters the chance to test their ability to communicate 
information on those hazards quickly. Tone alert NOAA Weather Radio 
receivers should activate. SAME digital NOAA Weather Radio receivers 
should display the Routine Monthly Test (RMT).

Tornadoes are an awesome display of nature's power. Although they 
are most common in the Midwest and Great Plains, tornadoes do occur 
in New York as well. One tornado touched down last year in Lewis 
County east of Lake Ontario, fortunately there were no injuries or 
fatalities. On average, six tornadoes occur each year across all of 
New York State.

The primary mission of the National Weather Service is to protect 
lives from hazardous weather. Meteorologists closely monitor the 
atmosphere for conditions which may produce tornadoes or severe 
thunderstorms.

If there is a potential for storm development within the next 
several hours, a Tornado Watch will be issued. While you can 
continue with your routine activities when a watch is in effect, you 
should pay close attention to the sky. If it becomes unusually 
threatening, or if you hear thunder, it's always best to go indoors 
until the storm passes. Why take the chance? Tornadoes can form very 
rapidly. Also, listen for the latest weather information on your 
favorite radio or TV station, or on NOAA Weather Radio.

Doppler radar currently in use at all National Weather Service 
offices has greatly aided forecasters in detecting tornadoes. In 
addition, volunteer storm spotters trained by the National Weather 
Service have provided valuable ground truth information on tornado 
touchdowns. 

If a tornado is sighted by spotters or detected on radar, the 
National Weather Service will quickly issue a Tornado Warning for 
communities in the storms path. If you live in or near a community 
mentioned in the warning, you should take cover immediately by going 
into an interior room, away from windows, on the lowest floor of a 
sturdy building. A basement offers the best protection followed by 
interior closets and hallways. Mobile homes, even if tied down, 
offer little protection from tornadoes and should be abandoned. 
Never attempt to outrun a tornado in your car. It is always better to 
leave your vehicle for a sturdy shelter. If that is not possible, 
lie flat in a nearby ditch or depression and cover your head. 
Remember, flying debris from the wind of a tornado causes most 
deaths and injuries. 

For more information about severe weather safety visit out website 
at www.nws.noaa.gov/os/thunderstorm 

Friday, May 4
...SEVERE WEATHER AWARENESS WEEK CONTINUES...

The National Weather Service and the New York State Office of 
Emergency Management have proclaimed April 29 to May 5 Severe 
Weather Awareness Week in New York State.

Of all the weather hazards which confront New Yorkers, flooding 
poses the greatest threat to lives and property. On August 10th, 
2009, flash flooding ravaged parts of Gowanda and Silver Creek in 
Western NY resulting in millions of dollars in damage.

The heavy rains of Hurricane Irene and Tropical Storm Lee in 2012 
caused over a billion dollars in flood damages across New York State 
and damages from Sandy were over 40 billion dollars.

When looking at previous flood events in New York, one can see that 
flooding is a serious threat at any time of year. If you live in a 
flood prone area, you must always be prepared. National Weather 
Service forecasters routinely monitor river levels, rainfall, and 
snowfall in New York.

Whenever there is a threat that rainfall will result in flooding, a 
flood watch will be issued. You should be prepared for the 
possibility of flooding whenever a flood watch is in effect. Make 
sure your vehicle has a full tank of gas. The potential loss of 
electricity would make gasoline pumps inoperable. Know your 
evacuation routes in advance in case you have to leave the area. 
Make arrangements for a place to stay if you are forced to leave 
your home, and keep a stock of food which requires no cooking or 
refrigeration. The potential loss of electricity or natural gas 
service will spoil perishable foods. Store drinking water in 
containers or a clean bathtub, about a gallon of water per person, 
per day, for up to four days.

The National Weather Service will issue a Flood or Flash Flood 
Warning whenever flooding is either occurring or is imminent. You 
must act quickly when a Flash Flood Warning is issued for your 
community. If you live in an area near a river or stream, move to 
higher ground, but never drive across a flooded road. The water may 
be hiding a road washout, or the current may be strong enough to 
sweep your vehicle away. If your car stalls, leave it immediately 
and move to higher ground. Finally, be especially cautious at night 
since it's harder to recognize flood dangers.

For more information about severe weather safety visit out website 
at www.nws.noaa.gov/os/thunderstorm
Saturday, May 5
...SEVERE WEATHER AWARENESS WEEK CONCLUDES...

The National Weather Service and the New York State Office of 
Emergency Management have proclaimed April 29 to May 5 Severe 
Weather Awareness Week in New York State.

NOAA Weather Radio is one of the best ways for people to receive 
immediate hazardous weather information. Most models have a warning 
alert feature. Using a special audio tone, National Weather Service 
meteorologists can automatically activate these radio receivers and 
give live information on the exact location and movement of 
dangerous storms or flooding.

Newer models use the SAME (Specific Area Message Encoding) digital 
technology as commercial broadcast stations use to activate the 
emergency alert system. NOAA Weather Radio is also a direct 
information source for other natural and man made hazards such as 
earthquakes and toxic chemical spills. That's because the National 
Weather Service maintains a close relationship with national, state, 
and local emergency management agencies.

Even when the weather is not threatening, NOAA Weather Radio is a 
great source of up to the minute weather information, forecasts, 
marine weather, and climate information, 24 hours a day, 7 days a 
week direct from your local National Weather Service Office.

Weather radios are relatively inexpensive, and they are available at 
your favorite electronics supply store. 

In Western New York, NOAA Weather Radio stations transmit from...

Buffalo on 162.55 MHz
Rochester on 162.400 MHz
Spencerport on 162.525 MHz
Lyons on 162.475 MHz
Watertown on 162.475 MHz
Frewsburg on 162.525 MHz
Little Valley on 162.425 MHz

All broadcasts originate from the National Weather Service Forecast 
Office in Buffalo.

Today concludes severe weather awareness week. Over the last 20 
years severe weather has killed over 100 people in New York and 
caused billions of dollars in damage. On average, the National 
Weather Service issues 400 Severe Thunderstorm Warnings, 17 Tornado 
Warnings, and 150 Flash Flood Warnings each year in New York.

Plan now to keep safe during severe weather.

For more information about severe weather safety visit out website 
at www.nws.noaa.gov/os/thunderstorm