Now is the time to prepare for severe weather during spring season
It is Severe Weather and Flood Awareness Week in Tennessee.
It began on Sunday, February 24th as many across the Tennessee Valley were experiencing flooding, and it continues through Saturday, March 2nd.
The National Weather Service and local Emergency Management offices want you to be prepared if and when severe weather arrives this spring.
When weather conditions are nice, it is easy to let your guard down and not think about severe weather. However, as we learned this past weekend, weather can change very quickly.
Thus, it is important to take proactive steps now to know what to do when tornadoes or other severe weather arrives.
We are about to begin the primary severe weather season for our area from March to May.
"We want to make sure that it's always on people's minds, and this is like a reminder once a year. It's time to reevaluate your emergency plans at home or at your business," said Amy Maxwell, spokesperson for the Hamilton County Office of Emergency Management.
Everyone should have an emergency plan in place to know what you and your family would do in the case of flooding or a tornado.
If you already have a plan, you should revisit it to make sure that it is up-to-date and practice it.
Use this past week's flooding as a reminder to think ahead to the next potential weather event.
"It's better to take just a few minutes of your time to be prepared. It's better to be proactive than reactive. A lot of people don't ever become prepared until something has happened to them," reminded Maxwell.
For tornadoes, you should take shelter in a sturdy building with a secure foundation.
"The lowest point of the home for a location, away from windows and doors. A lot of people don't realize where that is," Maxwell stated.
If you live in a mobile home, you should seek stable shelter elsewhere.
Area schools also participated in the Weather Awareness Week by holding tornado drills today across the state.
The Hamilton County Department of Education encouraged schools at the beginning of February to start performing tornado drills early. Three Hamilton County schools participated in today's statewide tornado drill.
"Our kids get out in the hallways and they know what to do. They do the drills, so they are prepared when these things happen," said Tim Hensley, Communications Officer Hamilton County Schools.
The Hamilton County Office of Emergency Management has a very useful website. It is a wealth of information from how to prepare for tornadoes to flooding to links monitoring the water level of Chickamauga Creek.
From 1950 to 2018, 25 tornadoes occurred in Hamilton County. If you would like to see the statistics of past tornadoes in your county for various time periods, there is a great online database. For our viewing area, click for east Tennessee counties (excluding Grundy), north Georgia counties, northeast Alabama counties, and Grundy County, TN.
Remember, taking the five minutes now to make a plan could save you and your family's lives. For the latest weather updates from the Storm Alert Team, download the WRCB weather app for iPhones and Androids.