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Prepare now for severe spring storms

Prepare now for severe spring storms
Posted on 02/25/2021
March 1-5 is Kansas Tornado and Severe Weather Awareness Week. As spring storm season nears, this is a good time to brush up on your knowledge about and prepare for damaging or dangerous storms – especially tornadoes.

These rotating, funnel-shaped clouds produce extremely strong winds that can reach 300 miles per hour. Damage paths of tornadoes can be in excess of one mile wide and 50 miles long. Learn more about tornadoes at the National Severe Storms Laboratory.

Watch vs. warning

A tornado watch means there are weather conditions in the area that could produce a tornado. A tornado warning means a tornado has been sighted somewhere in the area.

Watches and warnings are also issued for severe thunderstorms and flash floods.

If there is a tornado warning:

  • Go to the lowest level you can in the building.
  • Take shelter in interior rooms or hallways (bathrooms or laundry rooms are best).
  • Avoid areas with windows and do not open any windows.

Tornado drills and siren tests

Every spring, there is a state-sponsored tornado drill, which allows you to practice what you should do in the event of a real tornado watch or warning. This year’s statewide tornado drill will take place on March 2 at 10 a.m. You are not required to participate in the drill or practice seeking shelter, but you are encouraged to at least review and find the best place to go in the case of a real tornado.

There are two siren tests set for the Lenexa area on the first Wednesday of every month, weather permitting.*

  • At 10:30 a.m., Johnson County Emergency Management will test its ability to activate all county siren zones, including those in Lenexa.
  • At the conclusion of the County tests, the City of Lenexa will test its ability to activate the sirens within its city boundaries.

*In the event of potential severe weather, the test will be postponed to the following week.

Emergency notifications: Sirens and other alerts

Outdoor sirens are not primarily designed to reach people within their homes or workplaces. Although some people can hear the sirens indoors, it is an outdoor system. All homes and workplaces should have an NOAA-approved weather radio that is on and ready to alert you in case of severe weather.

The City of Lenexa and Johnson County use the Notify JoCo emergency notification system to warn residents about severe weather warnings and other local emergencies. You can sign up for free at NotifyJoCo.org.

Published Feb. 25, 2021