Nebraskans prepare for severe weather

Thursday, March 15, 2012

Dear Fellow Nebraskans:

Today I want to remind Nebraskans that the severe weather season is beginning and all of us need to take steps to be ready. Last year our state suffered record flooding along the Platte and Missouri Rivers. Promoting preparedness for flooding and severe weather can help prevent serious injury and loss of life and property across our state.

Last year was a record-breaking year for tornados across the United States. More than 1,700 were reported with more than 1,000 weather-related fatalities across the nation as well as 8,000 injuries. In Nebraska, there were nearly 20 tornadoes on June 20 alone.

These tragic losses fuel the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration's resolve to build a weather-ready nation. That's weather-ready not weather proof. Severe weather can strike anywhere and anytime. I want Nebraskans to be prepared.

This year Nebraska had its first-ever confirmed tornado in the month of February. Already this year tornadoes have hit communities in Indiana, Illinois, Tennessee, Alabama and Kentucky. One of the best ways we can prepare is by working together.

The devastating impacts of extreme events can be reduced through improved readiness. Individuals need to recognize hazards and understand terms such as tornado watch which means conditions are favorable for a tornado to develop and tornado warning which means a tornado has been detected by radar or reported by storm spotters and be prepared to act appropriately.

We are lucky to live during a time when there are multiple mediums of communication to be aware of and prepare for approaching severe weather. Weather radios, phone apps, private company alerts, television, radio and the weather service are available to provide information on approaching severe weather. Find a trusted source and use it to stay informed.

Before an event occurs is the time to prepare for severe weather. Listen carefully to instructions from local officials and take the recommended protective measures to safeguard life and property.

Important items to have ready in case of an emergency include a battery-powered radio, flashlight with extra batteries, medicines, non-perishable food, a hand-operated can opener, a utility knife, and first aid supplies. Be sure to copy important documents, such as medical records, contracts, property deeds, leases, banking records, insurance records, and birth certificates and keep them in a safe place. For more ideas on how to be prepared, visit

I encourage our citizens to take steps to ensure families, homes and businesses are prepared for a possible emergency. Let's all work together to keep Nebraskans safe.

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