Severe weather season in West Texas is just weeks away and city leaders are preparing by planning ahead. Meanwhile they're asking you to do the same.
Severe weather season begins mid-March but officials say now is the time to start planning what your family will do when it arrives. "It's too late to do it when the tornado's upon them. They need to make these plans early on," explains City of Lubbock Emergency Coordinator Ken Olson. He says the best plan is to have a family emergency plan before severe weather strikes, which include steps your family will take.
First, communicate with your children and designate a place for shelter. "Make sure they have a safe place for their children and themselves," says Olson. Though you may not have a storm shelter he says there are other places you can seek cover. "Maybe a closet, maybe a bathroom, away from exterior windows - something that provides structure around them in an enclosed area," explains Olson.
Within minutes a thunderstorm can turn into a tornado. That's why Olson says it's important to pay attention to severe weather alerts.
"Watch simply means that we're literally watching for severe weather and viewers need to be alert that thunderstorms may develop. A warning means that severe weather is occurring now," says NewsChannel 11 Chief Meteorologist John Robison. If there's not a television or radio around, he says just look at the sky. "If you see the cauliflower-looking clouds, the big white fluffy ones it usually indicates a storm building," explains John.
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With a thunderstorm comes lightning. Many don't know but experts say it's the number one killer when it comes to severe weather. "Get inside, get away from tall objects that might attract the lightning," warns John.
"It's just important for them to talk through that, think through that. Deal with that possibility because it's highly likely that's going to occur in West Texas," adds Olson.
If you'd like to learn other ways your family can prepare The National Weather Service will provide a training session open to the public Thursday night at Idalou High School. It begins at 7 p.m.
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