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Kansas and Missouri Severe Weather Awareness Week set for:March 4-8, 2013

Kansas and Missouri Tornado Drill scheduled for:Tuesday, March 5 at 1:30 p.m.

The National Weather Service in Pleasant Hill, in conjunction with the Kansas Division of Emergency Management, the Missouri State Emergency Management Agency, and local emergency management agencies, will conduct the annual statewide Severe Weather Awareness Week for both Kansas and Missouri March 4th through March 8th, 2013**.

The statewide tornado drill for Kansas and Missouri, including the counties in the Pleasant Hill forecast and warning area, will take place on Tuesday, March 5th, at 1:30 p.m. The National Weather Service in Pleasant Hill will issue a test tornado warning as part of the drill. Local warning sirens, NOAA All-Hazards Weather Radio, and the Emergency Alert System (EAS) will be activated upon receipt of this warning, to signal the start of the drill. The "TOR" code for EAS and NOAA Weather Radio will be used again this year to simulate what would occur in the event of an actual tornado warning. Residents should treat the drill as if it were an actual tornado emergency. The purpose of the annual drill is to test everyone's readiness for life-threatening severe weather events such as tornadoes, flash floods, large hail, and damaging winds.

Daily themes during this week will include:

Monday - Preparedness Day

Tuesday - Tornadoes Day

Wednesday - Flash Flood Day

Thursday - Thunderstorm Day

Friday - NOAA Weather Radio Day

The 2013 severe weather season has already become quite active across the country, so it is imperative you prepare now. You are encouraged to use this week, and the annual test day, to review your severe weather safety plans. Practice what you would do in a real severe weather emergency.

Links at the bottom of this page offer several severe weather awareness resources for the media, emergency managers and the public to use. Feel free to download and duplicate as needed for your local awareness campaigns.

Throughout the spring and summer, be sure to check out our Severe Weather Tracker web page, and our Forecast web page, to keep track of the latest forecasts, advisories, watches, and warnings.

You can also receive weather updates and communicate with us via social media. Please make sure to "like" us on Facebook and "follow" our Twitter feed.

National Weather Service Severe Weather Products and What They Mean

The National Weather Service (NWS) uses specific terminology to relay the weather threat to the public in the fastest way possible. In the spring and summer, there are a variety of watches, warnings, and statements you need to understand in order to be prepared. Keep these in mind as we approach the 2010 Severe Weather Season:

TORNADO WATCH - Means that conditions are favorable for tornadoes to develop. It is normally issued for 4 to 6 hours, and can include many counties. If you are in or near the Tornado Watch area, stay informed with NOAA Weather Radio, commercial radio, or television.

TORNADO WARNING - Means that a tornado has been sighted, or a developing tornado is reported by trained spotters or indicated on Doppler radar. A warning is typically issued for a small area for less than 45 minutes. If a Tornado Warning is issued for your area, take cover immediately!

SEVERE THUNDERSTORM WATCH - Means that conditions are favorable for thunderstorms to produce large hail or damaging winds. These watches are normally issued for 4 to 6 hours at a time, and for a large number of counties. Once again, if you are in or near the Severe Thunderstorm Watch area, stay informed with NOAA All-Hazards Weather Radio, commercial radio, or television.

SEVERE THUNDERSTORM WARNING - Means that a severe thunderstorm has been detected by Doppler radar, or by a trained spotter. The NWS in Pleasant Hill will issue a Severe Thunderstorm Warning for storms capable of producing wind gusts 58 mph or stronger, or hail 1 inch in diameter or larger. Take cover quickly if a severe thunderstorm approaches you, or if one is reported in your area.

SEVERE WEATHER STATEMENT - The Severe Weather Statement is a follow-up to Tornado and Severe Thunderstorm Warnings. These statements inform you of the current status of a tornado or severe thunderstorm. In addition, it gives the history of a storm, where it is moving, and who it will affect. This NWS product is also used to cancel or expire all or part of a warning.

SIGNIFICANT WEATHER ADVISORY - A Special Weather Statement called a Significant Weather Alert will be issued to either address storms that are either just below severe criteria, for storms that are expected to produce penny or nickel size hail, or to give a heads-up for storms that *are* severe and are moving towards your area. The Significant Weather Alert contains important information for storms just below warning criteria!

FLOOD WATCH - This is issued when heavy rain may develop and result in flooding or flash flooding in or near the watch area. A Flood Watch will also be issued if ground,

river/stream conditions, or radar surveillance indicate flash flooding is possible, but not imminent within a designated area.

FLASH FLOOD WARNING - Means flash flooding has developed or is imminent in the area. A Flash Flood warning is typically issued for a period of 6 to 12 hours. When a Flash Flood Warning is issued, move to higher ground immediately!

FLOOD WARNING - A Flood Warning is issued whenever flooding is expected along a gauged river or stream. The warning will be issued for that point specific to the gauge site. Flood Warnings are also issued for counties (or parts of counties) whenever prolonged or slow-response flooding is expected to occur. A Flood Warning may be issued upon the expiration of a Flash Flood Warning, and its duration may last up to a day.

HAZARDOUS WEATHER OUTLOOK - This product issued by the NWS discusses the significant weather threats of the day, and also out through the next seven days. It describes potential weather hazards for an area, and is especially reated for trained spotters and Emergency Managers. The Hazardous Weather Outlook will detail the type of severe weather expected (if any), timing, and expected location of the severe weather. This product should be used daily as a briefing tool for severe weather potential.

Kansas and Missouri Severe Weather Awareness WeekMarch 4-8, 2013

How to Prepare Your Family for Severe Weather

Severe weather will happen, and eventually it will affect you in some way. So the only thing you can do is to try and be prepared the best you can. In some cases, there are no easy answers to the many questions and problems that can arise. You simply have to prepare for your situation with the resources you have available. The first thing to do is develop a preparedness plan. But before you get into the details of your plan, there are some initial steps you should take.

Step 1: Identify the severe weather hazards you may face.

In the Central United States , severe thunderstorms are a fact of life. These storms can produce tornadoes, damaging wind gusts, large hail, and heavy rain that can produce flash flooding. At some point in your life, you will likely be faced with one of these hazards.

Step 2: Set up your plan.

Everyone should have a severe weather plan for their home. Likewise, businesses need to have a plan for the workplace. There will be similarities, but there will also be differences between the two. Following are some ideas that can be applied to both.

1. Establish who is responsible for the plan. Someone needs to be in charge. For a large workplace that runs several shifts, you may have several people responsible for the plan.

2. How will you receive weather warnings? NOAA Weather Radio is a great way to receive severe weather warnings from the National Weather Service. You can also get information from the commercial media, such as radio and television. The Internet is also a great way to get information. However, do not depend solely on one method. Have multiple ways to receive critical weather information.

3. If you receive a weather warning such that you need to activate your plan, how will you inform the people you are responsible for? In a home that should not be a problem, but in a large workplace you have to have a method for communicating the severe weather information to everyone present.

4. Establish shelters area in your home or workplace. Depending on the amount of people who need to be sheltered, multiple areas may be needed. If your home or building is in an area prone to flooding, you need to have an evacuation plan in place.

Step 3: Practice your plan!

Conduct drills and then review the drill to find strengths and weaknesses and make improvements where necessary. It is hard to foresee every circumstance, but drills can often bring out problems that were not previously seen.

Some things you can do to protect your family include:

Have a family disaster plan. A plan will cover what to do, where to meet, and how to contact family members in the event of a fire or severe weather. Make sure all family members know about the family emergency plan. Give emergency information to babysitters and other caregivers.

Put together an emergency supply kit for your home, for your office, your car, and one for your child at school. A kit should have bottled water, a radio with extra batteries, a flashlight, prescription medicine and first aid supplies.

Purchase a generator for your home or business. A generator wi