Posted by: Lars Anderson, Director, Public Affairs
At the end of each week, we post a "What We’re Watching" blog as we look ahead to the weekend and recap events from the week. We encourage you to share it with your friends and family, and have a safe weekend.
This weekend, our friends at NOAA forecast severe weather for parts of the Lower Missouri Valley, Eastern Oklahoma, Western Arkansas, and Northeast Texas. Included in this forecast is a high probability for severe weather – especially in Oklahoma, Kansas and Nebraska, where large hail and a few strong tornadoes are possible. Here are some terms you should familiarize yourself with if severe weather watches and warnings are issued for your area:
- Severe Thunderstorm Watch - Tells you when and where severe thunderstorms are likely to occur. Watch the sky and stay tuned to NOAA Weather Radio, commercial radio or television for information.
- Severe Thunderstorm Warning - Issued when severe weather has been reported by spotters or indicated by radar. Warnings indicate imminent danger to life and property to those in the path of the storm.
- Tornado Watch - Tornadoes are possible. Remain alert for approaching storms. Watch the sky and stay tuned to NOAA Weather Radio, commercial radio or television for information.
- Tornado Warning - A tornado has been sighted or indicated by weather radar. Take shelter immediately.
If severe weather is expected in your area, keep in mind these safety tips:
- Continue to monitor your battery-powered radio or television for emergency information.
- Injury may result from the direct impact of a tornado or it may occur afterward when people walk among debris and enter damaged buildings. Wear sturdy shoes or boots, long sleeves and gloves when handling or walking on or near debris.
- Do not touch downed power lines or objects in contact with downed lines. Report downed power lines and electrical hazards to the police and the utility company.
- After a tornado, be aware of possible structural, electrical or gas-leak hazards in your home. Contact your local city or county building inspectors for information on structural safety codes and standards. They may also offer suggestions on finding a qualified contractor to do work for you.
High winds are expected for Southeast Wyoming, Eastern Colorado, Western Nebraska, the Southern High Plains, Southeast New Mexico, West Texas, and parts of the Northeast. Below Normal temperatures are expected for part of the Northern and Central Plains, Upper Mississippi Valley, and Upper Great Lakes. In contrast, above normal temperatures are forecasted for parts of the Northeast and Mid-Atlantic.
Heavy rain and snow is forecasted for parts of the North-Central Plains, Southeast Wyoming and Northern Colorado. Heavy rain is expected for the Midwest, Lower Mississippi Valley, and East Texas. Due to heavy rain, flooding is likely to occur across parts of Northern Idaho. Visit www.ready.gov/floods for tips on what to do to if flooding occurs in your area.
Additionally, severe drought conditions are expected to continue throughout part so the Southeast, Mid-Atlantic, Southern Plains, Upper Mississippi Valley, Southwest, and portions of California and the Central Great Basin.
Weather conditions can rapidly change, so we encourage everyone to monitor your area's local forecast by visiting weather.gov or mobile.weather.gov on your mobile device.
President Obama has declared next week, April 15 - April 21 National Volunteer Week. Every year, millions of people donate their time and services to volunteer in schools, shelters, hospitals and faith-based and community-groups. At FEMA we work closely with many faith based and community organizations to help individuals affected by disasters. Visit www.serve.gov for volunteer opportunities in your area and to read about the great work millions of people do every day.
The following week, we’re partnering with NOAA for Severe Weather Preparedness Week. All week long, we’ll provide you with tips and information on the importance of preparing for severe weather before it strikes. Tune in April 22 - April 28 for important information on how you and your family can prepare for severe weather.