Severe Weather Awareness week starts tomorrow

Lexington, Kentucky, is no stranger to severe weather. Last year, according to the National Weather Service, Kentucky communities had between 110 and 130 thunderstorm risk days, some of which included large hail, damaging winds, flash flooding, and tornadoes. This is roughly one out of every three days of the year that Kentuckians are exposed to lightning risk and other thunderstorm hazards. Lexington has had its share of wind, rain, flooding, high winds, and even tornadoes.

In addition, other Kentucky communities continue to recover from the Dec. 10 – 11, 2021, and Jan. 1, 2022, tornado outbreaks. The scars left on many counties from the deadliest tornado outbreak in Kentucky history will be felt for years.

Severe Weather Awareness Week will be observed throughout the Commonwealth from Wednesday, March 1, through Tuesday, March 7, 2023. In addition, Lexington Emergency Management will have displays in Lexington public libraries on emergency preparedness and increased social media and online messaging about severe weather awareness and safety actions.

A statewide tornado safety drill will be conducted at 10:07 am EST Wednesday, March 1.

In Lexington, the actual tornado sirens will also sound at 10:07 am EST.

During the drill, the National Weather Service (NWS), in partnership with Kentucky Emergency Management (KYEM), the Kentucky Weather Preparedness Committee (KWPC), and Kentucky Broadcasters Association, will issue a test tornado message that will activate weather alert radios with a test message. All Kentuckians are encouraged to practice their tornado safety actions at home, school, or work. In addition, many television and radio stations may interrupt programming to cover the tornado drill.

“Severe weather, including tornadoes, can occur anytime, day or night,” said NWS Louisville Warning Coordination Meteorologist Mike Kochasic. “As part of Severe Weather Awareness Week, strongly consider having multiple ways to receive life-saving messages, so you’re ready to move to safety at any hour of the day.”

Basic severe weather preparedness includes:

1.  Understanding the types of hazardous weather that can affect you and your family. Visit BeReadyLexington.com/hazards.

2.  Stay regularly updated on the weather forecast at weather.gov or your favorite weather source. Get a NOAA weather radio and ensure your cell phone receives localized emergency management alerts. Sign up for LEXALERTS emergency notifications at BeReadyLexington.com

3.  Build an emergency kit and develop a family emergency plan that takes into account all local hazards and associated risks.

In conjunction with severe weather awareness week, the National Weather Service invites all to attend one of the virtual SKYWARN spotter training sessions. Contact your local NWS Warning Coordination Meteorologist for information about classes being offered. Training webinars are free and open to anyone wishing to become a spotter or learn more about weather safety. Get more information about these weather spotter classes.

Please help the National Weather Service build a Weather-Ready Kentucky by becoming a Weather-Ready Nation Ambassador. This initiative is intended for organizations and is designed to help serve the public by strengthening our national resilience against extreme weather events. For more information and to apply, visit their website.  

Preparedness information is also available via the Lexington Emergency Management Facebook page at @LexingtonKYEM and the Division of Emergency Management Twitter and Instagram accounts, both @Lexkyem.

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