The first-ever National Severe Weather Preparedness Week begins today and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) and the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) have partnered together to raise awareness and save lives.
Last year during this week, storms raked the central and southern United States, spawning more than 300 tornadoes, claiming hundreds of lives and ranking as one of the largest tornado outbreaks in U.S. history. As the nation marks the first anniversary of that historic outbreak, from April 22-28 we’re asking each person across the country to “Be a Force of Nature” by knowing the risk, taking action and being an example.
As part of NOAA’s campaign to Build a Weather-Ready Nation, this week is all about what you can do to take a stand against severe weather. Being a force of nature means never bowing to extreme weather. It means taking appropriate actions before, during and after extreme weather strikes by knowing your risk, having a plan, building a kit and staying informed via a NOAA Weather Radio. It also means being connected to family, friends and neighbors and inspiring them to act. In the age of mobile technology and social media, this part has never been easier.
One of the most memorable examples of this type of life-saving behavior was from the recent March 2 tornadoes in Indiana. That day, after receiving a timely text from her husband about an imminent tornado, Stephanie Decker took immediate action and gathered her children in the basement. Shielding them from collapsing debris, Stephanie tragically lost parts of both of her legs. Her children, however, survived the storm without a scratch.
For more information on how you can participate this week and increase both your and your community’s preparedness check out www.ready.gov/severeweather. A digital toolkit for the week is available here. Together we can save lives and transform the way the United States responds to severe weather.