National Weather Service United States Department of Commerce


Severe Weather Awareness Week
Have a Plan Getting the Word Severe Thunderstorms Tornadoes
Flash Flood Safety Winter Weather Lightning Safety
Louisiana Severe Weather Awareness Week 2019
October 20th-October 26th

No location is immune to severe weather threats. The arrival of spring not only signals a time when people begin to take increased advantage of outdoor activities, it also marks a rise in the potential for violent weather. This includes damaging thunderstorm winds, hail, tornadoes, lightning, and flash flooding. People must know what to do when severe weather threatens, whether in the outdoors or at home, school, work, play, or in a vehicle.

Severe Weather Awareness Week is an excellent time to review safety plans for the coming weather threats. This should be done by all communities, with the help of schools, hospitals, nursing homes, churches, business, and civic organizations. It should also be done by every family, insuring that each member knows how to be safe when severe weather threatens. The best way to insure that plans are adequate and can be activated in a timely manner is to test them with drills.

Severe thunderstorms can form in only a matter of minutes, bringing with them large hail, damaging winds, dangerous tornadoes, and deadly lightning. These storms can also produce very heavy rain, dropping several inches in the space of an hour, which can lead to deadly flash flooding. You must be able to get to your shelter area quickly - you may only have seconds to act! Your first step to surviving severe weather is to develop a plan before storms develop.

Did You Know?
Tornado near Manitou, OK, on November 7, 2011. Photo is courtesy of Chris Spannagle.
The peak of tornado season in our area occurs between March and June with just over 50% of all tornado days occurring in this time frame. In these three months, a significant peak was discovered from April 19th through May 20th, with 30% of all tornado days for the year falling within this period. Our region also has a secondary peak for tornadoes in late fall from mid-November to mid-December.
Developing a Tornado Safety Kit

These items would be very useful to have in your storm shelter, or to take with you into your shelter, when severe weather strikes.

  • Disaster Supply Kit
        You store your emergency supplies as close to your shelter as possible.
  • Battery-Operated Weather Radio
         You will need to be able to monitor the latest information directly from your National Weather Service
  • A Map to Track Storms
         You will need to track the progress of the storm. Since warning texts, include parish names, a parish outline map of your area is a great             thing to keep handy. You might also want to keep a state highway map, which includes most of the cities and towns referred to in NWS             warnings and statements.
  • Battery-Operated TV and/or Radio
         This will allow you to monitor news and severe weather information if you lose electrical power.
  • Shoes
         This will be very important is your have is damage and you must walk across broken glass or other debris!
  • Identification
         You may need identification to move around in the area should significant damage occur.
  • Car Keys
         Keep an extra set in your shelter area in case your car remains drivable.
  • Cell Phone
         However, remember that cell phone service may be interrupted after a tornado or other disaster!
Other Things to Consider
If you have a safe room or other shelter area, you might consider storing important papers and other irreplaceable items in the shelter if space permits. Check and replace batteries in your weather radio, battery-powered TV/radio, flashlights, and other devices often in your safety kit, preferable twice a year. Do this when we set clocks back and ahead in the spring and fall, and when you replace smoke detector batteries. Check you disaster supplies kit often to maintain fresh food and water.

Make sure you have something to cover up with.  Pillows, blankets, sleeping bags, a mattress could help to protect you from falling/flying debris.  Above all protect your head, neck and upper body.  Wear a helmet (bicycle, football, baseball, motorcycle, hard hat, etc) if you have one.  If there's room, lie flat and cover up.  Otherwise, get as low to the ground as possible and make as small a target as possible.

Unfortunately, there are no safety rules - absolute safety facts that will keep you safe 100% of the time.  Instead, we offer guidelines for personal safety.  The vast majority of tornadoes are weak and don't last very long.  By following the guidelines included in this document, you and your family can survive a tornado.  These tornado safety guidelines should reduce, but will not totally eliminate, your chances of being seriously injured or killed in a tornado.

The good news is that you can survive most tornadoes.  The key to survival is planning - knowing what you need to do to be safe before a tornado threatens.
Schedule of Topics
Sunday: Have a Plan
Monday: Getting the Warnings
Tuesday: Severe Thunderstorms
Wednesday: Tornadoes
Thursday: Flash Flood Safety
Friday: Winter Weather
Saturday: Lightning Safety
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