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Severe Weather Awareness Week

March 25-29, 2019

Severe Weather Awareness Week Packet 2019 is available at this   Link

Become a Weather-Ready Nation Ambassador


The National Weather Service along with Nebraska Emergency Management and the Iowa Homeland Security and Emergency Division have declared March 25 through March 29 as Severe Weather Awareness Week.  

Knowing when severe weather is possible will give you time to prepare!

You can always find the latest forecasts and hazardous weather conditions at If you’re not on your computer, you can access the same information via your mobile device at Wireless Emergency Alerts are life saving messages that will pop up on your mobile phone when you are in a geographic area that is under a Warning. Visit for more information!

Each day during Severe Weather Awareness Week…the National Weather Service in Omaha will cover severe weather topics and have this information available on our webpage as well as on NOAA Weather Radio All Hazards.

Topics which will be covered include…

Monday...Severe Weather Terminology





Saturday...How to Report Severe Weather

The National Weather Service will conduct a Tornado Drill on WEDNESDAY, March 27th, at 10 a.m. with the TEST Tornado Warning drill at 1015 a.m. CDT. Please note the data change!  The purpose of this drill is to ensure that Nebraskans and Iowans can adequately receive a Tornado Warning and can practice any actions that would be taken in the event of a real tornado. The test warning will be sent through all communication channels normally used for severe weather dissemination.

                Severe Weather Drill - What To Expect

What to Expect


2019 Severe Weather Awareness Week

Proclamation Signing and Poster Contest (1st Place)

Poster Contest

Here are all the winners:

1st Place 2nd Place 3rd Place 4th Place

Severe Weather Poster Contest

1st Place:  Jack Baarson, Age 10, Bell Elementary School, Papillion, Sarpy County

2nd Place: Ansley Throener, Adams Elementary School, Lincoln, Lancaster County

3rd Place:   Julia Schuler, Cornerstone Christian School, Bellevue, Sarpy County.

4th Place:   Keri Wagoner, Aurora Elementary School, Aurora, Hamilton County

Honorable Mention

Jonah Fisher, 10, Loomis School, Loomis, Phelps County 

Luke Gompert, 10, North Street Academy, Center, Knox County 

Kaden Haverkamp, 10, Bloomfield School, Bloomfield, Knox County 

Alexis Lucas, 10, Litchfield Public School, Litchfield, Sherman County 

Karina Morales, 10, Perkins County School, Grant, Perkins County 

Zachary Moseley, 10, Cornerstone Christian, Bellevue, Sarpy County 

Jasmine Northey, 9, Cody Elementary School, North Platte, Lincoln County 

Becca Pobanz, 8, Meadowlark Elementary, Kearney, Buffalo County 

Stella Smith, 9, Meadowlark Elementary, Kearney, Buffalo County 



There were 33 tornadoes in Nebraska last year, that is 9 less than the 1950-2018 average of 42 and 21 less than the 30 year (1989-2018) average of  54.  Iowa reported 69 tornadoes, which is 23 above of the longer term average of 46.  Of the tornadoes that occurred in Nebraska and Iowa in 2018, there were no injuries in Nebraska and 36 injuries in Iowa.  Typically, most tornadoes in Nebraska and Iowa occur in June, though the incidence increases beginning late April. The most tornadoes in Nebraska occurred in June with 24.  In Iowa, the most occurred in July with 21.

Near Battle Creek, NE  - June 16, 2017 Photo courtesy of Quincy Vagell

Know what to do before, during and after a tornado.  Knowing what to do before, during and after a tornado could save your life. Here’s what you need to know.


  • Pick a tornado safe room in your home such as a basement, storm cellar or an interior room on the lowest floor with no windows.  Do not stay in large rooms such as auditoriums or gymnasiums.
  • Make sure all members of your family know where to go.
  • Store emergency supplies such as a first­-aid kit and flashlights with extra batteries are stored there in case you need them.
  • Put together a family communications plan.
  • You should also identify a safe location at work or school.
  • Do not get caught in traffic in the storm!  Plan well in advance.


  • When a Tornado Warning is issued, you should immediately go to a tornado safe room.
  • If you are outside, you need to seek shelter inside a sturdy building.
  • Mobile homes are never safe during a tornado. If you are in a mobile home or a recreational vehicle, you should head for a storm shelter.
  • If you cannot quickly walk to a shelter immediately get into a vehicle, buckle your seat belt and try to drive to the closest sturdy shelter.


  • If you are in an area that was damaged, be careful of debris that may include sharp or dangerous objects and watch out for downed power lines and broken gas lines.
  • Use battery­-powered flashlights when examining buildings.   Do NOT use candles which could start a fire.
  • If you smell gas or hear a blowing or hissing noise, open a window and get everyone out of the building quickly and then call the gas company or fire department.
  • Use the telephone only for emergency calls so rescue operation lines aren't tied up. Text your friends and family to let them know you’re ok.
  • If you were outside of the area damaged by the tornado, stay off the phone so that emergency calls can get through. Use text messages and social media to let your friends and family know you’re ok.
  • Stay away from areas that were damaged so you don’t hamper rescue operations. Only return to damaged areas when local law enforcement gives the all­-clear.

For more information visit... Tornadoes 

Severe Thunderstorms

A thunderstorm is considered severe when it produces hail that is one inch in diameter or larger, damaging winds equal to or greater than 58 miles per hour, or a tornado.  There are numerous aspects of severe thunderstorms that pose a threat to life and property.  Along with the threat of large hail, damaging winds, and tornadoes, everyone must also be aware of the possibility of dangerous lightning and flooding.  Now is the time to review Severe Weather Safety Information.





When Thunder Roars, Go Indoors!

For anyone outside, whether you're involved in sports or some other activity, keep an eye on the sky. If you hear thunder, you're already in danger and should head inside a substantial building or hard­topped vehicle immediately. Don’t wait for rain.

Outdoor activities (fishing, boating, golf, soccer, walking, running, yardwork) contributes to dozens of lightning deaths in the United States. Officials in charge of organized sports should have a lightning safety plan, and those involved in the sport (and their parents) should understand the plan and know what to do.

The plan should identify:

­-How long it will take to get everyone to safety

­-Where the participants and spectators should take shelter

­-When officials should stop and resume the event

­-Who is responsible for making weather-­related safety decisions

­-Who is responsible for monitoring conditions and notifying officials of weather-­related threats.

Whether you're out for a run, watching your child's game, or attending a major sports event, remember that there's no safe place outside in a thunderstorm. When thunder roars, go indoors!

For more information go to:  Lightning Safety

Lightning Illuminating Downtown Omaha - August 2016
Photo Courtesy of Michael Petty



Never Drive or Walk into Flood Waters ­ -Turn Around Don’t Drown!  Flooding is one of the leading causes of weather related fatalities in the U.S. On average, flooding claims nearly 82 lives each year. More than half of these deaths occur in motor vehicles when people attempt to drive through flooded roadways. This happens because people underestimate the force and power of water, especially when it is moving. 


 Platte River near Roscoe Courtesy USGS



Just six inches of fast­-moving water can knock over and carry off an adult. Twelve inches of water can float a small car. If that water is moving, it can carry that car away. Eighteen to twenty-­four inches of flowing water can carry away most vehicles, including large SUVs. It is impossible to tell the exact depth of water covering a roadway or the condition of the road below the water. This is especially true at night when your vision is more limited. It is never safe to drive or walk through flood waters. Any time you come to a flooded road, walkway, or path, follow this simple rule: Turn Around Don’t Drown.


For more information and flood safety tips, visit the Flood Safety page.


Statistics - 2018


Tornadoes:  33 (21 less than the 30 year average of 54)

                   Deaths:  0     Injuries:  0

Hail Size:    4.25” on August 6th (North of Grant - Perkins County)

Wind Gust:   Estimated: 100 MPH on July 18th - Near O'Neill (Holt County)

                                                            July 26th - Near Danbury/Lebanon (Red Willow County)

                     Measured: 91 MPH on June 7th  - Northwest of Orleans (Harlan County)



Tornadoes:  69 (23 above the longer term average of 46)

Deaths:  0     Injuries:  36

Hail Size: 3.00” on August 8th ( Near Garner - Hancock County)

Wind Gust:   Estimated 90 MPH on May 1st - Corley (Shelby County)

                                                         August 28th - Elvira (Clinton County)


Severe Weather Products and Services

Visit our Severe Weather Decision Support Page


Severe Weather Warnings and Outlooks
Awareness & Action Level
Hazardous Weather Outlook Issued at least three times daily by 6 AM, 1 PM, and 6 PM to alert you of potential weather hazards.   Stay tuned to later statements and be alert for the development of hazardous weather.
Severe Weather Watches Issued when conditions become favorable for the development of severe weather. Prepare and take necessary precautions in the event a warning is issued or severe weather is observed.
Severe Thunderstorm Warning Issued when severe weather (1" hail or larger and/or winds in excess of 58 mph) is imminent. Take immediate action to save lives and property.
Tornado Warning Issued when a tornado is imminent, has been spotted or has been indicated by Doppler radar. Take immediate action to save lives and property.
Severe Weather Statement Issued to update the status of severe weather warnings and to give specific details on the location and severity of storms.  
Local Storm Reports Issued to inform you of actual severe weather occurrences.  


Description Awareness & Action Level
Flood Potential Outlook

Issued 36 to 72 hours before potential flood events.

Stay tuned to later statements and be alert for the development of flooding.
Flood Watch Issued when conditions become favorable for flooding.  Prepare and take necessary precautions in the event a warning is issued or flooding is observed.
Flash Flood Warning Issued when rapid and life-threatening water rises are imminent. Take immediate action to save lives and property.
Flood Warning Issued for main stem river flooding or over land flooding for an extended period of time.  Take immediate action to save lives and property.
Flash Flood & Flood Statements

Issued to update the status of warnings and watches, and give specific details on the locations and severity of flooding.  





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