Weatherford Democrat

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March 14, 2014

Tornado awareness

With spring’s arrival, severe weather could soon be arriving, too.

(Continued)

When conditions warrant the possibility for severe weather stay vigilant and tuned into local weather conditions. In today’s world of mass media and social networking it’s much easier to stay informed. Twitter, Facebook and texting are one way.

The Weather Channel and phone weather apps are another. It’s also not a bad idea to invest in a NOAA weather radio with a warning button to get the latest on rapidly changing weather for your area. Be aware that during a severe storm event, telephone capabilities can become overwhelmed and you might be unable to communicate by cell service.

• Don’t wait for a severe weather event to find a safe place to be. Create a family communications plan and designate safe areas for your household and workplace. Most Texas homes do not have basements and few newer homes in this area are built with tornado shelters, but if a neighbor has a shelter or cellar, it might not be a bad idea to make arrangements with them for you and your family.

• Know the difference between a tornado “watch” and a tornado “warning.” A watch means the National Weather Service has detected conditions that may lead to tornadic activity in your area. A warning means that a tornado has been spotted in your area by trained spotters or by weather radar and you should take cover immediately. But, do not panic – stick to your plan and attempt to pay attention to where the tornado is heading.

• If a tornado is headed your direction, DO NOT stand outside to film it. TAKE COVER IMMEDIATELY. Trained observers have lost their lives to these storms, and life-threatening conditions can occur and change rapidly.

What to look for

It is important to watch the skies when your area is in a tornado watch. Some of the things to look for are:

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