Although it feels like January (actually this would be cold even by January standards), we’re in March and we’re getting into our severe weather season. Tornadoes can and do happen in every month in Kentucky, but March to June is our prime time. Of course our last horrible outbreak of tornadoes occurred in early March (2nd) of 2012, so now is the time to talk and prepare.
It is Severe Weather Awareness Week in Kentucky, and Wednesday is set aside as our statewide tornado drill.
At 10:07 Wednesday morning tornado sirens will sound (for the precious few that can hear them) and you should receive a notification on your smart phone or by whatever means you normally get severe weather information. Please take that time to think about what your severe weather plan would be…do it when the weather is calm so that heaven forbid you’re in a critical situation you will know what to do, you’ll know where to go and you won’t panic. Minutes and seconds can literally matter, so knowledge and preparedness is key. We talk about this in every Bill’s Weather 101 with the kids. I don’t want them to panic so I give them instructions to talk to mom or dad when they get home so they’ll know what to do.
By the way…when you see us pop up on LEX 18 saying there is a tornado warning for your county, that’s NOT the cue to go out on the front porch with your cellphone to try and get video! Get to your safe spot.
If you’ve watched our wall to wall coverage of tornado warnings ( and of course you have) you’ve heard us talk about the DUCK method to stay safe. A year and a half ago we, with the help of the Insurance Institute For Business and Home Safety, presented the new C-Duck.
The IBHS did exetensive research and learned new techniques for increasing your measure of safety in a tornadic situation. What they learned is that by compartmentalizing your house, the chances for catastrophic damage are lessened. By CLOSING interior doors like closets, bedrooms, and bathrooms you don’t allow the wind of a tornado to blow through and cause more damage and possible structural failure.
Unfortunately with big tornadoes, like what just struck Alabama, that part really doesn’t matter as most every structure above ground is either gone or severely damage, and if you’re not below ground it may not matter, but those tornadoes are very rare in Kentucky. Most of our tornadoes in Kentucky are smaller and there usually isn’t catastrophic structural damage, so the closing of the doors can help increase the chance of a structure’s survival, and increase your safety, in the event of a smaller tornado hit.
The rest of the DUCK method should be engrained in your head by now 🙂 .
DOWNSTAIRS…lowest level you can…basement if you have it, ground floor if you don’t
UNDER something sturdy to protect yourself from flying debris
CENTER of the house…use the walls as layers of protection
KEEP your head down, keep away from windows and doors, and keep a bike helmet nearby if you can
We always hear complaints from folks whenever there is a tornado warning with our wall to wall coverage. That they’re missing their shows. For better or worse, like many companies we have a tornado warning protocol and that is to be on as long as we perceive a threat. Yes, that means we do get to repeating ourselves. No, we don’t enjoy interupting your programs. No, we’re not doing it just to show off our fancy radar (central Kentucky’s ONLY LIVE radar in case you’re keeping score at home). Yes we may be interupting for a warning in Laurel County and the sky may be clear in Lexington. It’s how it works. There are other times when it may be reversed. By the way, be prepared for the ulitmate storm of complaints when you interupt the Justin Timberlake Saturday Night Live episdoe :-).
So with all that…use the Tornado Drill to just think about your plan…and hopefully you’ll never need it!
All the best…