Though there is snow on the ground, severe weather comes to the forefront this week across Kansas. This week, March 2nd – 6th, is severe weather awareness week. It is a week where citizens are urged to become educated about severe weather, and about what to do when it threatens.
In 2014 Kansas saw only 40 tornadoes, the lowest number in 25 years, and less than half of the state’s 30-year average of 81. It is the fourth-lowest total since tornado statistics began being kept in 1950. It’s also the third consecutive year of below-normal tornado totals in Kansas. While fewer tornadoes means fewer opportunities for deaths, injuries, and property damage, it also increases the chances of complacency in residents’ preparation for severe weather safety.
National Weather Service Metrorologist Chance Hayes says “one of the things that I want people to remember is that when tornado warnings are issued here in the plains states they are legitimate warnings, they should be taken seriously, and they should be acted on as soon as possible”.
As part of severe weather awareness week, a statewide tornado drill will be held Tuesday afternoon. Locally, Saline County Emergency Management will activate the outdoor warning sirens. This drill will also take place over the NOAA weather radios throughout the state.
The Saline County Emergency Management Office urges residents and businesses not to rely on the outdoor warning sirens when indoors. Each year they emphasize the fact that the Outdoor Sirens are just that, an outdoor warning system for citizens who are outside during severe weather to warn them to take cover. Local media outlets and All Hazards NOAA Weather Radios are your best sources for information concerning severe weather watches and warnings.