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The original item was published from 1/22/2019 9:33:39 AM to 5/1/2019 12:10:03 AM.

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Posted on: February 1, 2019

[ARCHIVED] Weather Safety by Great Bend Police Dept.

weather safety

Severe weather season is just around the corner. Kansas Severe Weather Awareness Week has been scheduled for March 4-8, 2019. The Statewide Tornado Drill is scheduled for March 5, 2019 at 10:00 a.m. & Storm Fury on the Plains Training is scheduled for March 7, 2019 at the Crest Theater, Great Bend. Presentations will be at 2:30 p.m. and 6:30 p.m.

The Great Bend Police Department wishes to provide you with safety tips and definitions you should know, should you encounter such an event.

Safety tips

Develop and practice an evacuation plan ahead of a severe weather event. Include a plan for pets and add any transportation routes and destinations in the plan. Prepare an emergency supplies kit for both family members and pets ahead of time to take with you. Be prepared to evacuate when authorities tell you to do so.

Stay out of flood waters, if possible, and do not drive into flooded areas. Even water only several inches deep can be dangerous.

Always assume fallen power lines are energized. Stay away from the area and report any downed lines to authorities immediately.

Unplug appliances and other electrical items, such as computers and televisions, to prevent damage from surges caused by lightning strikes.

If you evacuated, do not return to your home until local authorities say it is safe.

Plan two ways out of the home in case of an emergency. Clear driveway and front walk of ice and snow. This will provide easy access to your home.

Make sure your house number can be seen from the street. If you need help, firefighters will be able to find you.

Severe Weather Definitions

Severe Local Storm Watch

An alert issued by the National Weather Service for the contiguous U.S. and its adjacent waters of the potential for severe thunderstorms or tornadoes.

Severe Thunderstorm

A thunderstorm that produces a tornado, winds of at least 58 mph (50knots), and/or hail at least 1" in diameter. Structural wind damage may imply the occurrence of a severe thunderstorm. A thunderstorm wind equal to or greater than 40 mph (35 knots) and/or hail of at least 1" is defined as approaching severe.

Severe Thunderstorm Warning

This is issued when either a severe thunderstorm is indicated by the WSR-88D radar or a spotter reports a thunderstorm producing hail one inch or larger in diameter and/or winds equal or exceed 58 miles an hour; therefore, people in the affected area should seek safe shelter immediately. Severe thunderstorms can produce tornadoes with little or no advance warning. Lightning frequency is not a criteria for issuing a severe thunderstorm warning. They are usually issued for a duration of one hour. They can be issued without a Severe Thunderstorm Watch being already in effect.

Like a Tornado Warning, the Severe Thunderstorm Warning is issued by your National Weather Service Forecast Office (NWFO). Severe Thunderstorm Warnings will include where the storm was located, what towns will be affected by the severe thunderstorm, and the primary threat associated with the severe thunderstorm warning. If the severe thunderstorm will affect the near shore or coastal waters, it will be issued as the combined product--Severe Thunderstorm Warning and Special Marine Warning. If the severe thunderstorm is also causing torrential rains, this warning may also be combined with a Flash Flood Warning. If there is an ampersand (&) symbol at the bottom of the warning, it indicates that the warning was issued as a result of a severe weather report.

After it has been issued, the affected NWFO will follow it up periodically with Severe Weather Statements. These statements will contain updated information on the severe thunderstorm and they will also let the public know when the warning is no longer in effect.

Severe Thunderstorm Watch

This is issued by the National Weather Service when conditions are favorable for the development of severe thunderstorms in and close to the watch area. A severe thunderstorm by definition is a thunderstorm that produces one inch hail or larger in diameter and/or winds equal or exceed 58 miles an hour. The size of the watch can vary depending on the weather situation. They are usually issued for duration of 4 to 8 hours. They are normally issued well in advance of the actual occurrence of severe weather. During the watch, people should review severe thunderstorm safety rules and be prepared to move a place of safety if threatening weather approaches.

A Severe Thunderstorm Watch is issued by the Storm Prediction Center in Norman, Oklahoma. Prior to the issuance of a Severe Thunderstorm Watch, SPC will usually contact the affected local National Weather Service Forecast Office (NWFO) and they will discuss what their current thinking is on the weather situation. Afterwards, SPC will issue a preliminary Severe Thunderstorm Watch and then the affected NWFO will then adjust the watch (adding or eliminating counties/parishes) and then issue it to the public by way of a Watch Redefining Statement. During the watch, the

NWFO will keep the public informed on what is happening in the watch area and also let the public know

Severe weather season: Tornado safety tips

By Steven Galitzer

As severe weather season approaches, now is a good time to discuss and plan with your family what to do in case of an immediate weather threat.

Taking 15 minutes to develop and practice a plan could save the lives. Here are some tornado safety tips from the department of environmental health and safety:

Tornado Safety Tips

Before the storm: 

Develop a plan of action

Have frequent drills

Have a NOAA weather radio with a warning alarm tone

Listen to radio and television for information

If planning a trip outdoors, listen to forecasts

If a warning is issued or threatening weather approaches 

Always remember “DUCK": Down to the lowest level; Under something sturdy; Cover your head; and Keep in the shelter until the storm has passed.

Stay away from windows.

Get out of automobiles and get into a sturdy structure or ditch.

Or buckle your seat belt and get below window level of your vehicle.


In homes or small buildings: Go to the basement or to an interior room on the lowest floor like a closet or bathroom. Upper floors are unsafe. If there is no time to descend, go to a closet, a small room with strong walls or an inside hallway. Wrap yourself in overcoats or blankets to protect you from flying debris.

In schools, hospitals, factories or shopping centers: Go to interior rooms and halls on the lowest floor. Stay away from glass enclosed places or areas with wide span roofs such as auditoriums and warehouses. Crouch down and cover your head. Don’t take shelter in halls that open to the south or the west. Centrally located stairwells are good shelter.

In high-rise buildings: Go to interior small rooms or halls. Stay away from exterior walls or areas with glass.

If in a mobile home, abandon it immediately. Many deaths occur in mobile homes. If you are in a mobile home when severe weather approaches, leave it immediately and go to a substantial structure or designated tornado shelter. Determine your shelter ahead of time so you don't have to think about it when weather strikes.

If no suitable structure is nearby: Lie flat in the nearest ditch or depression and use your hands to cover your head. Be alert for flash floods.

Tornadoes and overpass safety: Many people mistakenly think that a highway overpass provides safety from a tornado. In reality, an overpass may be one of the worst places to seek shelter from a tornado. Seeking shelter under an overpass puts you at greater risk of being killed or seriously injured by flying debris from the powerful tornadic winds.

Tornadic winds can make the most benign item a dangerous missile. In addition to the debris that can injure you, the winds under an overpass are channeled and could easily blow you or carry you out from under the overpass and throw you hundreds of yards.

As a last resort, lie flat in a ditch, ravine or below-grade culvert to protect you from flying debris. If no ditch is available, you may remain in your vehicle, put on your seat belt, lower yourself below window level, and cover your head with your hands or a blanket. › Wichita, Kansas

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