Kansans are urged to remain alert and prepare for a severe storm threat this weekend that could include heavy rainfall, tornadoes, damaging winds and large hail.
"We know Kansas will have severe weather this weekend, starting tonight and Friday, especially Saturday, and even into Sunday," said Chad Omitt with the National Weather Service in Topeka. Information regarding the threat is available from the National Weather Service Storm Prediction Center at http://www.spc.noaa.gov/products/outlook/.
"We’re still in the beginning of severe weather season so the time to make sure you’re prepared is now," said Angee Morgan, deputy director of the Kansas Division of Emergency Management. "Just being aware of weather conditions and forecasts is one of the first things you can do to be prepared for severe weather," said Morgan. "We urge everyone to get a NOAA weather radio and keep it tuned to your local alert area."
"It’s also important for everyone to establish multiple ways to get information in case of travel, power outages or various communication challenges during storms," Omitt said. He suggested families discuss now where they will go if a tornado threat is approaching.
While a tornado warning indicates a tornado has been sighted or is on weather radar, a severe thunderstorm warning also means there is a possibility for tornados. A recent F2 tornado in Harveyville occurred during a severe thunderstorm warning.
"Heeding weather warnings is critical to improving your chances of staying safe," Omitt said.
"Since spring typically brings an increase in activities like proms, ballgames and picnics, it’s critical for family members, schools and organizations to plan how to stay safe during a severe weather threat like this weekend," Morgan said.
Severe weather can also bring the potential for floods and flash floods.
"More people are killed each year by floods than tornadoes," she said. "If flooding is headed your way, don’t wait until the last minute to evacuate. It only takes 18 inches of water to float a car, so don’t expect that you will be able to drive out of danger once the floods arrive."
A home and car emergency kit will help ensure Kansans are better prepared for emergency situations.
"You should have enough nonperishable food and water for each person for a minimum of three days," said Morgan. "The kit should also include first aid supplies, medications, flashlights, batteries, alternate heat sources, and other necessities to allow you to get along on your own for at least three days."
Morgan said the key to surviving the effects of severe weather is to use common sense and plan ahead.
For more information on preparing for severe weather and preparing an emergency plan and kit, go to http://www.ksready.gov/default.asp?PageID=3&Tab=3 .