Saturday marks the end of Severe Weather Preparedness Week. Navarro County is certainly prone to severe weather episodes.
We need to look no further than Oct. 24, 2010, when an EF-2 tornado leveled five houses and damaged the intermediate school in Rice.
Here is a quick-read look at things that may make you more prepared this spring as storms are sure to flare up:
Do you really know what it means when a “watch” is issued, or a “warning”? Have you heard of a “tornado emergency”? Here is a breakdown of terminology you may hear from the National Weather Service, emergency management officials or the media:
• Watch: A tornado watch defines an area where tornadoes and other kinds of severe weather are possible in the next several hours. Be alert, and prepared to go to safe shelter.
• Warning: A tornado warning means that a tornado has been spotted, or that Doppler radar indicates a thunderstorm circulation which can spawn a tornado. When a tornado warning is issued for your town or county, take immediate safety precautions.
• Emergency: Still relatively new, this means a large tornado has been confirmed and is on the ground, heading toward a populated area, and a large loss of life is possible. The warning is for a city only, not a region or county, and is designed to be used in only rare events.
— Info from National Weather Service
Navarro County has experienced its fair share of severe weather. As part of a proactive community and being recognized by the National Weather Service as a StormReady County, we offer these important safety tips to all of our citizens:
• Get a NOAA weather radio. They can provide the critical information you need during severe weather events and may save your life. There are several types, but ones that include the Specific Message Encoding or SAME, allow you to designate your specific area of coverage by entering FIPS codes. Our Corsicana/Navarro County frequency is 162.525 with a FIPS code for Navarro County of 048349.
• Have a plan if/when severe weather strikes. Make sure you have identified an area of shelter that is safe from threatening weather. During severe thunderstorms, move to a sturdy building and stay away from windows until the storm has passed. If a tornado warning is issued for your area, move to an interior room or bathroom and take shelter until the storm has passed.
• Stay tuned in. NCOEM works with NWS, local spotters, amateur radio, and CORAD. This information is often relayed through local news media, social networks such as Facebook and Twitter, and if needed, through the county and city’s Alert Notification System. Residents can also monitor weather operations through sites like radioreference.com or on the scanner. Navarro County OEM channel frequency for all weather operations is 158.8275.
• Additional safety and preparedness plans, www.redcross.org/prepare.
— Eric Meyers Jr., Navarro County Emergency Management Coordinator