Tennessee Severe Weather Awareness Week Feb. 19-24 - WRCBtv.com | Chattanooga News, Weather & Sports

Tennessee Severe Weather Awareness Week Feb. 19-24

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HAMILTON COUNTY, TN (WRCB) -- Sunday marked the beginning of Tennessee's Severe Weather Awareness Week. The state's emergency management agency and National Weather Service ask you to get prepared for the upcoming severe weather season, which usually begins in March.

The Tennessee Valley knows all too well the horrible effects of severe weather. That is why emergency officials want you to take the time now to be prepared.

The landscape of Apison is still scarred with snapped trees. Signs are still posted asking for volunteers to help rebuild homes. With each passing train, there are painful memories.

"It brings memories but you know, when it starts darkening up."

That is when Tracy Mills gets nervous, when the clouds start rolling in.

For Tracy and many others in Apison, the images of the devastation from last April's tornadoes are still fresh. One look out the window immediately takes victims back.

"I thought it was a real train. But he said it was the 'real' train. A tornado," says Mills.

Just up the road, Tracy's dad, Lamar Foster, was sitting in his trailer home.

"The storm came up. Went in watching TV and they said it was in Ringgold and the power went off," says Foster

In a matter of seconds, his home blew apart.

"Next thing I know, the trailer went flying," he says.


He did too, landing about 300 feet away.

He still has pictures. His crushed van sat where his new front porch is today.

Lamar was one of the lucky ones. Hamilton County was hit with 11 tornadoes through the course of the outbreak that lasted more than 12 hours.

Eleven people died, eight in Apison alone.

That is why emergency officials are using this week to spread the word about disaster preparedness. They are working on a new smartphone app TEMA is releasing this year called 'Ready TN.' It provides info on severe weather, road conditions, shelters and local government contacts. It is just one more way to be prepared.

"It'll take hundreds of years to bring the trees back," says Foster.

It may take time to recover, but Lamar is thankful for those who are dedicated to getting the word out about severe weather.

"They can get the word out to the people ahead of it. And that's what you need. You gotta have it," he says.

Sunday's focus of Severe Weather Awareness Week is the importance of 'SKYWARN spotters.'

SKYWARN is a nationwide network of volunteer storm spotters trained by the National Weather Service.

If you are interested in becoming a spotter, you can attend a storm training session.

The next one in our area is February 23rd at the Rhea County Training Center in Evensville at 6:30 pm.

For more information, click here: http://www.srh.noaa.gov/mrx/?n=severeweatherawareness

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