Severe Weather Preparedness
The 2017 severe weather season has begun early across Texas, with tornadoes recently reported across the northern, eastern and central parts of the state. There are several ways that both the public and emergency management community can be prepared for Texas severe weather season.
Texas Severe Weather
The severe weather season in Texas typically extends from late February through early June, with the peak of the season varying for different parts of the state. Severe weather normally occurs during the day from late afternoon through the early overnight hours, but can occur at any point during the day or night and on any day of the year. The main threats in Texas from severe weather include tornadoes, large hail, damaging thunderstorm winds and flash flooding.
Three Ways to Receive Warnings
To begin preparing for severe weather season, one of the steps the National Weather Service (NWS) advises is to have three ways to receive severe weather notifications. This advice applies to the public and emergency managers alike. Below are several potential sources of warning information.
With the arrival of severe weather season, each Texas NWS office is presenting their Skywarn Severe Weather talks. These are trainings for the general public and city/county officials on types of severe weather, how to become a storm spotter, and how to prepare for severe weather. Each office has their own Skywarn schedule and most can be found via their website. Here are a few links to the Skywarn information for this spring:
If you are an emergency manager for a county, city or organization (hospital, company, etc.) you can contact the Warning Coordination Meteorologist for your area to schedule a Skywarn talk. Contacts can be found at the end of this article.
In addition to the Skywarn training, the StormReady Program is offered by the NWS so that communities, counties, Indian tribal governments, universities and colleges, military bases, government sites, commercial enterprises and other groups are better prepared to save lives from the onslaught of severe weather through advanced planning, education and awareness. For more information, review StormReady and visit with your local Warning Coordination Meteorologist.
Know the NWS Products
One of the questions often asked of the NWS is the difference between a watch, warning and advisory. An advisory is issued when a hazard will be occurring and presents either a travel hazard, delay or an inconvenience to a person's daily routine. Examples of this are a Dense Fog Advisory, Wind Advisory or Flood Advisory. For an explanation of watches and warnings, see the graphic to the left.
For more information about the National Weather Service and how to prepare for severe weather visit the following links:
See the map below to find your local Warning Coordination Meteorologist. The image can also be accessed here: National Weather Service
National Weather Service Austin/San Antonio