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Be prepared for severe weather

Published 12:52pm Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Monday marked the start of the Alabama Severe Weather Preparedness Week, and the National Weather Service encourages residents to take severe weather seriously.

“We like to set aside a week in late winter to raise awareness of severe weather,” said Mark Rose, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service in Birmingham. “We want to make people aware of different types of severe weather. We don’t want people to become overly sensitized, but we do want people to take a few moments and look into impacts of warnings.”

Rose said although tornados are the most visible severe weather threat that faces Alabama, others exist as well.

“Sometimes we tend to minimize severe thunderstorm warnings because they’re not as highly visible as tornados,” Rose said. “Sometimes they’re not taken as seriously, but (people shouldn’t) minimize impacts of severe thunderstorm warnings.”

Rose said lightning and flash flooding can also be serious dangers that he hopes the preparedness week brings attention to.

“We want to make sure people have safety action plans and if they don’t we want them to put one together,” Rose said.

Rose said it is extremely important for people to not only make a plan, but also have multiple ways of receiving weather information.

“Sometimes people only rely on tornado sirens,” Rose said. “This is dangerous. We don’t want people to rely on just one source to get information. We want people to utilize multiple sources in case one way isn’t working or one avenue isn’t available.”

Rose suggested citizens use weather applications on smart phones or iPads, tune in to local TV stations during severe weather, use a weather radio or remain up to date on weather conditions through the internet.

“In Alabama we’re never really out of the severe weather threat,” Rose said. “We have a pretty active weather climate so we can experience severe weather anytime of the year, but typically spring is the most active. People need to use common sense and stay aware of storms.”

For more information on Severe Preparedness Awareness Week, visit the weather service’s website at www.srh.noaa.gov.

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