National Weather Service United States Department of Commerce

Severe Weather Awareness Week


Severe Weather Awareness Week

Introduction Weather Hazards Local Climatology Past Events
Important Information Weather Radio Tornado Safety Drill Additional Info

Introduction

Tornadoes, damaging thunderstorm winds, large hail, and flash floods can occur at any time of the year. However, late winter and spring usually bring the greatest chance of these severe weather events occurring in Louisiana and Mississippi.

The week of February 14, 2021 has been designated as Severe Weather Preparedness Week in Mississippi. The following week of Feb. 21st will be Severe Weather Awareness Week in the state of Louisiana. The goal of these Severe Weather Awareness and Preparedness Weeks is to call attention to the threats posed by these weather hazards and to review severe weather safety rules in an attempt to reduce the loss of life and injury. Post-storm interviews with survivors of severe weather events prove that preventative safety measures greatly enhance the chance of survival.

Now is the time to develop a severe weather safety plan. A successful plan should include:

  • Knowledge of terminology such as watches and warnings
  • Knowledge of safety rules to follow when severe weather threatens
  • A reliable method of receiving warnings and emergency information
  • Review and testing of the plan.

Emergency managers, schools, government agencies, private businesses, and local citizens are encouraged to review their severe weather safety plans and conduct drills as appropriate.

For additional information on Mississippi Severe Weather Preparedness Week and Mississippi severe weather information visit http://www.weather.gov/jan/swpw

Our partners at the Louisiana Governor's Office of Homeland Security and Emergency Preparedness (GOHSEP) and the Mississippi Emergency Management Agency (MEMA) have additional hazardous weather and severe weather safety information.  Please visit their websites:

 

Important Information

There are many aspects to being prepared for severe weather, but first and foremost, KNOW WHERE YOU LIVE!! No matter what you have in your severe weather plan, it will never be complete until you can pinpoint your location on a map. Take a few moments NOW to learn some local geography so you can be more prepared when severe weather  strikes. Don't just stop at your home location, learn surrounding parishes, counties, and communities. This extra bit of knowledge will help you determine if storms in other areas are heading your way.

Knowledge is power, a power that could SAVE YOUR LIFE!!

 

Louisiana NWS Offices Watch vs Warning Watch vs. Warning Tornado Safety

 

Weather Hazards & Safety

Severe weather comes in many forms in Louisiana and Mississippi. From tornadoes to flooding, we see it all. It's important to know the different weather hazards and some simple safety tips. Please review the graphics below to learn how to prepare and keep you and your family safe from each type of hazard. (Click on images for a larger view.)

 

Weather Hazards & Safety Tips

Severe Weather Hazards
Severe Weather Hazards
Damaging Winds
Damaging Winds
Hail Safety
Hail
Flood Safety
Before a Flood
Flood Safety
During a Flood
Flood Safety
After a Flood
Tornado Safety
Before a Tornado
Tornado Safety
During a Tornado
After a Tornado
After a Tornado
Lightning Safety
Lightning Safety
Lightning Safety
Lightning Safety
Lightning Safety
Lightning Safety
Receiving Weather Alerts
Receiving Alerts
Wireless Emergency Alerts
Wireless Alerts
After the Storm
After the Storm

 

 

NOAA Weather Radio and Wireless Emergency Alerts

NOAA Weather Radio is a vital communication link in your severe weather safety plan. NOAA Weather Radio broadcasts continuous weather information. When severe weather watches and warnings are issued, most NOAA Weather Radios are automatically alerted and turned on so that you are alerted about a potential severe weather situation. Some receivers can be programmed specifically for the parish or county where you live.

In the southern United States...including the Gulf Coast states...tornadoes can occur at night. Unfortunately...nocturnal tornadoes have a much greater chance of causing fatalities and injuries as many people are asleep and not monitoring weather conditions or media to know if warnings have been issued. NOAA Weather Radios can be a life saving weather monitoring device during the overnight hours. The Weather Radio can be set in "stand-by" mode overnight and will automatically alarm and turn on if a severe weather watch or warning is issued. When a Severe Thunderstorm or Tornado Watch or Warning is issued, the weather radio will automatically alert and broadcast the warning.

 

Another way to receive weather warnings is from the Wireless Emergency Alert feature enabled on most cell phones. This warning dissemination avenue allows government agencies to send urgent critical messages directly to cell phones in an impacted area. Apps or additional software are not needed. While messages will look very similar to text messages when received, they include a special tone and vibration repeated twice. For additional information, on the Wireless Emergency Alert (WES) feature visit the NWS Weather Ready Nation web site:  http://www.nws.noaa.gov/com/weatherreadynation/wea.html, and also your cell phone provider.

Wireless Emergency Alert Messages

 

Wireless Emergency Alert (WEA) Success Story

Since the rollout of the Wireless Emergency Alert feature on mobile phone several years ago there have been a number of success stories where timely Tornado Warnings from the NWS and distribution to individuals cell phones via the WEA feature allowed people to seek safety during a life-threatening tornado situation.

On such example occurred in Louisiana near the small town of Trout  (LaSalle Parish) on the night of Oct 31st, 2019 when a family received a Tornado Warning from the WEA feature on their cell phone, The family quickly moved from their double-wide mobile home to a nearby house of a family member.  Their mobile home was completely destroyed by the strong (EF2) tornado.   A timely Tornado Warning, and rapid distribution by the WEA feature to the warned area followed by quick action certainly led to a positive outcome and possible loss of lives.

 

Tornado Test Message

As part of the Severe Weather Preparedness Week in Mississippi our office will transmit a Tornado Test Message on NOAA Weather Radio Wednesday morning, February 17th, around 9:15AM.  Similarly, as part of the Severe Weather Awareness Week in Louisiana our office will transmit a Tornado Test Message on NOAA Weather Radio Wednesday morning, February 24th, around 9:15AM.The test message will be similar to the Routine Weekly Test message transmitted each Wednesday. Some NOAA Weather Radios will alarm with the test message, others will only have a TEST message displayed on their LCD screens. The test message will allow individuals and organization to make sure their NOAA Weather Radios are in good working order, and also is a good time to review severe weather safety plans. In the event of severe weather the test will be postponed to a later date.

 

Severe Weather Climatology

There were 55 tornadoes, 5 fatalities, and 14 injuries reported in Louisiana in 2020.  All of the fatalities and injuries occurred in mobile homes.

To get local parish and county specific severe weather climatology, please visit here.  

 

Severe weather can happen at any time of the year, but it is most common during the months of March, April, and May in Southeast Louisiana and Southern Mississippi.

Severe weather can also happen at any time of the day, but it is most common during the afternoon hours in Southeast Louisiana and Southern Mississippi.

 

Past Events

Severe weather can happen at any time. Here are some events from the last few years:

Tornado Outbreak of June 24, 2020:  Two waves of severe weather produced 8 tornadoes across Southeast Louisiana and Southern Mississippi.  

April 2020 Tornado Events  Three tornado events occurred in April 2020. These events produced a 5 tornadoes including a violent EF-4 tornado in northern Walthall County, MS on April 12th and a strong EF-2 tornado in McComb, MS on April 23rd. 

Tornado event of December 16, 2019:  A strong EF-3 tornado impacted Amite County, MS  

Tornado outbreak of June 6, 2019  8 tornadoes impacted portions of metro Baton Rouge and the River Parishes. The strongest tornado was an EF-2 tornado that directly hit Sorrento, LA.  

Tornado Event of February 7, 2017:  A significant tornado event took place with 6 tornadoes impacting Southeast Louisiana. Two EF-3 tornadoes occurred in New Orleans and Watson causing extensive damage 

For a more comprehensive list of past severe weather events, click here. 

 

Additional Information