Weather sirens will be tested next week

Posted February 27, 2019 at 9:32 am

The state of Kentucky, as well as Clinton County and surrounding states and areas, have already seen some “severe” weather over the past few weeks in the form of flash flooding, but with the onset of spring brings with it the increased threat of severe storms.

Next week has been proclaimed Severe Weather Awareness Week across the state and Kentucky residents and entities will be taking part in tornado drills and sirens are due to be tested in each county.

Clinton County Emergency Management Director Lonnie Scott said that the statewide outdoor warning siren test is scheduled for Wednesday, March 6 at 9:07 a.m. (local time for each prevailing county). He reiterated that should actual severe weather conditions exist during that designated time, the date for the tests would be changed.

Many schools, hospitals, nursing homes, work places and others annually conduct drills on what to do in case of an actual tornado or other severe weather related occurrence.

Although severe weather, including tornadoes, can occur in the state any time of the year, the most prevalent times for tornadoes is in the spring, especially from late March through early June.

Tornadoes are nature’s most violent storms and appears as a rotating, funnel shaped cloud that extends from a thunderstorm to the ground.

Damage paths can be in excess of one mile wide and 50 miles long. Some are visible, while others are hidden by heavy rainfall or low hanging clouds. Occasionally, tornadoes develop so quickly that little, if any advance warning is possible.

The local and state Emergency Management offers the following basic safety precautions to take in the event of severe weather than may save your, or someone else’s life.

— Before a tornado.

* To begin preparing, you should build an emergency kit and make a family communications plan.

* Listen to NOAA Weather Radio or commercial radio or television newscasts for the latest information. In any emergency, always listen to the instruction given by local emergency management officials.

* Be alert to changing weather conditions. Look for approaching storms.

* Look for the following danger signs: dark, often grayish sky; large hail; low-lying cloud (particularly if rotating); loud roar–similar to a freight train; if you see approaching storms or any other danger signs, be prepared to take shelter immediately.

Quick facts you should know about tornadoes.

* They may strike quickly with little or no warning.

* They may appear nearly transparent until dust and debris are picked up or a cloud forms in the funnel.

* The average tornado moves from the Southwest to the Northeast, but have been known to move in any direction.

* The average forward speed of a tornado is 30 mph, but may vary from stationary to 70 mph.

* Tornadoes can accompany tropical storms and hurricanes as they move onto land.

* Waterspouts are tornadoes that form over water.

* Tornadoes are most frequently reported east of the Rocky Mountains during spring and summer months.

* Peak tornado season is March through May.

* Tornadoes are most likely to occur between 3 and 9 p.m., but can occur at any time.

Know the terms.

* Tornado Watch: Tornadoes possible. Remain alert for approaching storms.

* Tornado Warning: a tornado has been sighted or indicated by weather radar. Take shelter immediately.

During a tornado, if you are under a tornado warning, take shelter immediately. Most injuries are associated with high winds causing flying glass and debris, so remember to protect your head.

Go to a pre-designated area such as a safe room, basement, storm cellar, or the lowest building level. If there is no basement, go to the center of a small interior room on the lowest level (closet, interior hallway away from windows, doors and outside walls). Put as many walls possible between you and the outside. Get under a sturdy table and use your arms to protect your head and neck.

In a high-rise building, go to a small interior room or hallway on the lowest level if possible, put on sturdy shoes and do not open windows.

Try to get out immediately and go to a pre-designated location such as the lowest floor of a sturdy building or a storm shelter. Mobile homes, even if tied down, offer little protection from tornadoes.

If you are not in a sturdy building, there is no single research-based recommendation because many factors affect your decision. One possible action would be:

* Lie in an area noticeably lower than the level of the roadway and cover your head with your arms and blanket, coat or other cushion if possible.

In all situations:

* Do not get under an overpass or bridge. You are safer in a low, flat location.

* Listen to local officials for updates and instructions.

* Watch out for debris and downed power lines.

* If you are trapped, do not move about. Tap on a pipe or wall or use a whistle, if you have one, so that rescuers can locate you.

* Stay out of damaged buildings and homes until local authorities indicate it is safe.

* Photograph the damage to your property in order to assist in filing an insurance claim.

* Do what you can to prevent further damage to your property (e.t. putting a tarp on a damaged roof), as insurance may not cover additional damage that occurs after the storm.

* If your home is without power, use flashlights or battery powered lanterns rather than candles to prevent accidental fires.

Emergency Management officials also recommend people to consider building “safe rooms” in your home for further protection. For more information, contact your nearest Emergency Management office or call 387-5917.