WILMINGTON — Plan to get your business, school or child-care provider to participate in a Statewide Tornado Drill on Wednesday, March 25 at 9:50 a.m.
Now is the time to prepare for severe spring weather, said Clinton County EMA Director Thomas Breckel and Wilmington Police Chief Ron Cravens.
“Planning ahead will lower the chance of injury or death in the event that severe weather, such as a tornado, strikes,” Breckel said. As part of the planning process, take some time during Spring Severe Weather Awareness Week for your office to review your safety plan.
The National Weather Service has confirmed that Ohio had a near-record 49 tornadoes in 2019. The most significant event was a tornado outbreak on May 27-28, Memorial Day weekend, when 21 tornadoes touched down in 10 Ohio counties, including nearby Montgomery, Greene and Warren Counties.
A tornado is a violently rotating column of air that comes in contact with the ground — usually descending from the base of a severe thunderstorm. Tornadoes are usually visible as funnel clouds.
Related severe thunderstorms can produce heavy rains, flash flooding and hail.
Breckel’s advice is to pay attention to the weather and to weather reports. Meteorologists can predict or forecast when conditions might be ripe for a tornado to develop. Tornado sirens are primarily for people who are outdoors, he added.
The City of Wilmington has updated its weather warn software for tornado sirens, said Cravens.
The March 25 morning Statewide Tornado Drill serves as both a time to test tornado sirens and to remind residents to be situationally aware because the season for severe spring weather is imminent, according to the police chief.
Cravens reminded residents that on noon of the first Saturday of every month the tornado sirens are tested. If residents don’t hear the siren’s prolonged sound, they should contact officials to let them know the siren in the area didn’t go off.
What to do before severe weather strikes:
• Review your shelter locations in the event of a tornado.
• Attend the free NWS Storm Spotter Training at the Murphy Theatre on Tuesday, March 10 from 6 to 7:30 p.m.
• Review your emergency plan (office / family / church). If you don’t have one, start one now. Please go to www.ready.gov/plan .
• Check your emergency kit (office / car / home). If you don’t have one, build one now. Please go to www.ready.gov/kit .
• Conduct an office / family / church tornado drill — a great opportunity is to participate in the Statewide Tornado Drill on March 25 at 9:50 a.m.
What to do when severe weather strikes:
• When thunder roars, go indoors.
• Monitor weather reports. Is this a single storm, or multiple passing through your area?
• If indoors, avoid running water or using landline phones (shock hazard).
• Secure outdoor furniture before the storm (airborne missile hazards).
• For more information, please go to www.ready.gov/severe-weather .
What to do during a Tornado Warning:
• Immediately go to a safe location that you identified.
• Take additional cover by shielding your head and neck with your arms or putting materials such as furniture or blankets around you.
• Monitor the weather.
• For more information, please go to www.ready.gov/tornadoes .
Breckel said, “Preparedness begins with you. It is the insurance policy you put in place to cover you when disaster strikes, and before first responders can reach you. Don’t be uninsured. You, your household, and your co-workers are worth it.”