Severe Weather Awareness Week

News Release:

Straight-line wind storms, downburst rains and tornadoes can occur at any time of year in Texas. So it pays for individuals and families to plan what to do well in advance. March 4 - 10, 2007 is Severe Weather Awareness Week in Texas.

Basic preparedness plans should be in place at home, at work and at school. Make sure each family member or employee understands the plan. When a severe storm or tornado strikes, there may be only a few seconds to react and find shelter. The first step in preparedness is to monitor TV, radio and NOAA weather radio. Battery powered equipment and extra batteries should be part of the plan.

A TORNADO WATCH is issued when severe weather is expected along with large or multiple tornadoes. It means WATCH the sky. A TORNADO WARNING means TAKE ACTION because a tornado is on the ground - or just about to strike. Seek shelter immediately. A tornado warning usually covers one county or a portion of a county and generally lasts for an hour or less.

Shelter areas should be designated at home, work and school -- basements, ground-level, windowless rooms, stairwells or interior hallways on the lowest floor. Protect yourself from flying debris with thick blankets, sleeping bags or mattresses.

If you are in a vehicle, mobile home or portable classroom, move quickly to a strong building for shelter. If there is no shelter, lie flat in the nearest ditch or depression, watching out for floodwaters. Do not take shelter in a structure with a high, wide roof such as an auditorium, gym or shopping mall.