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Severe Storms Lightning Safety Tornado Safety & Weather Radio Flooding Safety Fire Weather


April 9th through April 13th will be 2018 Severe Weather Awareness Week for central and western Wyoming.  It is the National Weather Service’s mission to protect life and property and during this week NWS Riverton will be discussing safety measures, and stressing the importance of preparing and planning for various natural disasters that impact Wyoming.  Having a practiced plan ahead of time can make the difference between life and death.

Each day this week will focus on a different type of severe weather and include safety information related to each type. Click on one of the tabs above to learn more.  The lineup for 2018 Severe Weather week is:

Monday, April 9: Severe Storms (Large Hail and damaging Winds)

Tuesday, April 10: Lightning Safety

Wednesday, April 11:  Tornado Safety and The NOAA Weather Radio Tornado Drill - 1:00 p.m.

Thursday, April 12: Flood Safety

Friday, April 13: Fire Weather

The NWS will conduct a special routine weekly test of the NOAA Weather Radio broadcast, which will serve as the tornado drill.  This will take place around 1:00 P.M. MDT on Wednesday, April 11, 2017. The drill is designed to train emergency services organizations and educate people how to respond to a tornado warning. Communities may sound local warning sirens and many schools will conduct safety drills for their students. 

You should use the special routine weekly NOAA Weather Radio test as your tornado drill and it is encouraged that you treat this like a real event so that you can test your safety plan.  It is also encouraged that you further become familiar with safety rules and make plans to protect yourself and your family when storms develop. If an actual tornado warning was issued, it means a tornado has been sighted or indicated on radar and people should take shelter immediately. Tornado warnings are disseminated through NOAA weather radio, local television and radio stations, cable television systems, and outdoor warning sirens.

Wyoming is served by five National Weather Service offices. We issue watches and warnings for the protection of life and property. For additional information, contact your local NWS office:

Cheyenne, WY Riverton, WY Billings, MT Rapid City, SD Salt Lake City, UT

Link to Cheyenne's Facebook pageLink to Cheyenne's Twitter page

Link to Riverton's Facebook pageLink to Riverton's Twitter page

Link to Billings's Facebook pageLink to Billings's Twitter page

Link to Rapid City's Facebook pageLink to Rapid City's Twitter page

Link to Salt Lake City's Facebook pageLink to Salt Lake City's Twitter page

A funnel west of Cheyenne on June 25, 2014.
Table Rock-Sweetwater County, WY - May 26, 2017.

Microburst Damage in Worland, WY - July 3rd, 2011. Photos Courtesy of James Yule.


Staying Aware of the Weather

Ready, Set, Go: This is the mindset we want people to be in when it comes to being prepared for hazardous weather.

Before Severe Weather Season: Develop an emergency plan and practice it regularly.

Here are a few questions to ask when developing your plan:

  • What is your risk for a natural disaster?  Do you live in a flood prone area? Knowing your risk can help you develop a plan tailored to your family.
  • Where do you go in case of a natural disaster?  Is it a basement such as during a tornado, or go to higher ground during a flash flood.
  • Do you have a designated meeting place for your family if you get seperated? During a natural disaster phone service might be disrupted, and getting in contact with loved ones might be difficult.
  • What would you do if basic services such as water, gas, electricity, or telephones were cut off?  Having an emergency supply kit in your home and car is essenital.  It is recommended  you keep enough supplies in your home to meet your needs for at least 3 days.  After a natural disaster it could take awhile for emergency responders to reach your location.
  • How will you be notified of a natural disaster? What about at night?


Ready: At this stage, the National Weather Service sees something on the horizon that may end up being a widespread severe weather event in the future. The Hazardous Weather Outlooks and Situation Reports issued by the local NWS offices will give you this information. Also, the Storm Prediction Center issues thunderstorm outlooks that give an idea of where severe thunderstorms may develop in the next 8 days. At this stage you should make sure your emergency plan and supply kit are up-to-date.

Set: In this stage, we are confident that a hazardous weather event will occur, but are not sure of the exact timing, location, or impact of the event. For severe thunderstorms and tornadoes, a Watch is issued to give the public a heads up that they need to be prepared for the possibility of severe weather within the next 8 hours. At this stage you should keep abreast on the latest weather conditions, and be ready to implement your emergency plan at a moments notice.

Go: When we hit this stage, we are confident that a thunderstorm is producing severe weather and we issue a Warning. The lead time can be just precious minutes out to an hour. At this stage, you should activate your emergency plan.

FEMA, the Red Cross, local emergency management, and the National Weather Service can help you develop your plan. Here are a few websites with guidance in making your emergency plan: