Sirens to sound in Ohio during tornado drills

Emergency sirens and alerts across Ohio will sound at 9:50 a.m. Wednesday as a reminder to prepare for one of nature’s worst storms.

Ohio’s tornado season typically peaks between April and July, but tornadoes can turn at any time.

Tornadoes touched down on February 27 northwest of Middletown at Madison Toop. in Butler County, and near New Carlisle in Clark County. Both were classified as EF1 on the Enhanced Fujita Scale with winds of 85–110 mph.

While none have resulted in fatalities, the National Weather Service reports that the national average is 800 tornadoes per year, resulting in 80 deaths and 1,500 injuries. This illustrates the need to know where to quickly find shelter during a storm.

“The weather in Ohio can often be unpredictable, especially in the spring when temperatures fluctuate between warm and cold, which can cause severe weather or even tornadoes,” said Sima Merik, executive director of the Ohio Emergency Management Agency. “We urge all Ohioans to create or review their existing emergency plan and be prepared.”

Today’s tornado exercise takes place during Severe Weather Awareness Week, which is held in the state two weeks before the 49th anniversary of the April 3, 1974 tornado in Xenia, which killed 33 people and injured more than 1,300. An F5 tornado — the strongest on a scale with winds in excess of 200 mph — was part of a super outbreak with multiple tornadoes spawned from the same storm system.

All schools, local governments, healthcare facilities, businesses and residents are encouraged to get involved by reviewing and implementing an action plan on what to do and where to go in severe weather. For counties, this will include sounding outdoor warning sirens and public address systems, according to the state EMA.

Safety and preparation tips

Know the terms:

Tornado Watch – Get Ready: When conditions are favorable for tornado development. Be prepared to move to safety if the watch is updated to a warning or if threatening weather is approaching.

Tornado Warning – Take Action: When a tornado is imminent or has been seen. Warnings indicate imminent danger to life and property. Seek a safe haven immediatelypreferably in a basement or windowless interior such as a closet, hallway or bathroom.

Prepare for harsh weather and domestic emergencies: Assemble the kit And Make a plan. This includes having a severe weather kit for home and car, and creating an emergency plan/or updating an existing plan.

Outdoor warning sirens: Many counties in Ohio have installed outdoor sirens to warn of approaching severe weather. Outdoor warning sirens are designed to be heard outside.

Alerts and notificationsA: It is important to get weather and emergency information from reliable sources. Have multiple means of communication and always get information from trusted sources such as the National Weather Service, local radio and television stations, and phone apps from trusted agencies. Other great sources to get in touch are Emergency Alert System (EAS) which are messages sent out on television and radio channels, Wireless Emergency Alerts (WEA) free notifications delivered to mobile devices as part of the public safety system, and NOAA All-Hazards Weather Radio.

Source: Ohio EMA.

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