Staying alert for severe weather

Published 3:16 pm Friday, February 25, 2011

Alabama Severe Weather Awareness Week came to an end Friday, but weather experts insist that being aware of severe weather should not be limited to one week.

The key to making it through severe weather is to “stay prepared for any situation,” said Birmingham meteorologist Jody Aaron.

“A lot of people don’t pay attention to thunderstorms but pay attention to tornados,” said Aaron, with the National Weather Service office in Calera. “Straight line winds [in a thunderstorm] can do as much damage.”

In addition to tornado and thunderstorm safety, Severe Weather Awareness week encouraged being prepared for lighting, flooding and flash flooding. Steps to improve overall weather preparedness include having a plan in place when severe weather hits, as well as knowing what to do when it hits.

“For those who live in mobile homes, know where shelter is,” he said. “Typically prepare for three days of being without power. Have flashlights for nighttime. Have stuff ready, and have a plan.”

Aaron also encourages people to invest in a weather radio, instead of just relying on weather sirens.

“A lot of people have misconceptions about sirens. Most are for outdoor use, and some are hard to hear indoors. We suggest using a weather radio,” said Aaron.

For more information on how to prepare for severe weather, visit the Birmingham Area National Weather Service page, or call the branch at 664-3010.