National Weather Service United States Department of Commerce


Severe Weather Awareness Week
Make a Plan Severe Thunderstorms Flash Flooding Tornadoes
Lightning Watches, Warnings, & Reception Mobile Home Safety
Louisiana Spring Severe Weather Awareness Week 2024
February 11th-February 17th

The 2023 severe weather season was fairly active across Louisiana, with 34 total tornadoes reported across the state. Of those, 14 tornadoes were reported across Northern Louisiana. Two of the tornadoes were strong, which is considered EF2 or greater, 10 tornadoes were rated EF1, and 2 tornadoes were rated EF0. With the 2024 spring severe weather season fast approaching, the National Weather Service, in cooperation with the Governor’s Office of Homeland Security and Emergency Preparedness, has designated the week of February 11th as Severe Weather Awareness Week. This is a safety campaign designed to help residents in the state of Louisiana prepare for the fall storm season.

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, February 11:  Make a Plan
      --Making sure you know what to do before storms threaten the area.
  • Monday, February 12:  Severe Thunderstorms
      --Exploring the dangers of large hail and damaging winds.
  • Tuesday, February 13:  Flash Flooding
      --Highlighting the dangers of flash flooding.
  • Wednesday, February 14:  Tornadoes
      --Highlighting safety tips to help people identify safe shelters, and develop a family emergency action plan before storms arrive.

      --The Routine Weekly NOAA Weather Radio Test on Wednesday will include instructions for a Tornado Drill. We encourage all Louisiana
         residents (including all area schools) to test out their tornado safety plans during this time. The tornado drill will occur at 9:15 AM on                 Wednesday February 14th. If storms are in the area on this day, the drill will be postponed to Thursday, February 15th.
  • Thursday, February 15th:  Lightning
      --Highlighting the importance of seeking a grounded, fully enclosed structure with ANY storm that approaches, with a special emphasis on
         delaying outdoor activities until the threat of lightning ends.
  • Friday February 16th:  Watches, Warnings, and Reception
      --Providing information on what it means to be under a Severe Thunderstorm or Tornado Watch or Warning, and what actions are
         recommended when watches and warnings are issued.
  • Saturday, February17:  Mobile Home Safety
      --Sharing information on prompting action to keep mobile home residents safe.
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