Local agencies participating in Severe Weather Awareness Week
by David Atchison and Chris Norwood
Emergency Management agencies in Talladega and St. Clair counties are encouraging residents to learn all they can about the dangers of different weather events and how to survive them.

“That is the point of Severe Weather Awareness Week — to be aware and to know what to do,” said Patrice Kurjezeski, assistant director of the St. Clair County EMA.

Feb. 17-22 is designated as Severe Weather Awareness Week in Alabama.

“The Southeastern area of the United States suffers many types of severe weather and Alabama gets its share,” Kurjezeski said. “The most common are tornadoes, high winds, floods, lightning and hail.”

She said tornadoes are frequently seen in Alabama.

“They may occur during any month of the year, with the primary season during the spring months of March, April and May,” Kurjezeski said. “A secondary season occurs during November-January.”

She said according to historic data, April is the most active month for tornadoes in Alabama.

Kurjezeski said in the past 62 years, 1950-2012, 416 tornadoes have occurred during the month of April. Since 1950, 240 tornadoes were recorded in November.

“November is now the third most active tornado month, reinforcing the fact that Alabama has two separate and distinct severe weather seasons,” Kurjezeski said.

She encourages residents to have an NOAA weather radio in their homes and businesses.

“In an emergency, your local NOAA weather radio station will send out a warning signal, followed by information about the weather emergency,” Kurjezeski said. “… In addition to the NOAA weather radios, there are apps that you can download to your smartphone. This is another excellent way to receive emergency notifications.”

More information on weather and other disaster preparedness is available from the St. Clair County Emergency Management Agency by going to the county’s website at www.stclairco.com and click EMA on the left side of the page.

In Talladega County, EMA specialist Beverley Reynolds said each day during the week will have a different theme. For instance, Sunday will be family preparedness day (be ready, be prepared, be responsible), Monday will be severe thunderstorm safety day, Tuesday will be lightning safety day, Wednesday will be tornado safety day (and will feature a countywide tornado drill), Thursday will be flooding and flash flooding safety day and Friday will be NOAA weather radio all hazards.

"TCEMA will post safety tips according to the daily themes listed above on our Twitter and Facebook pages," Reynolds said in a press release. "Please follow us on twitter (www.twitter.com/readytalladega) or like us on Facebook (www.facebook.com/readytalladega)."

The release goes on to say that "TCEMA is encouraging everyone to conduct their own safety drill on Wednesday. This 'tornado safety drill' will be in conjunction with the weekly NOAA All-Hazards Radio Test, which will be held at the special time of 9 a.m. TCEMA anticipates participating in this drill by sounding the outdoor warning sirens. Please report any issues with the sirens to Talladega County EMA office by sending emails to tcemastaff@tcema.co.talladega.al.us.”

© 2013