What will you do the next time a twister appears?

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Be prepared.

It's the old Boy Scout motto, but it's good advice whatever your age or gender.

We do what we can to prepare for whatever eventuality, whether it's buckling up in our car, locking the door at night, or buying health, life and property insurance.

The pages of this newspaper are full of reasons to take such precautions, whether accident reports, or stories about break-ins or illnesses.

One hazard we should take especially seriously is the possibility that our home or business could be struck by a tornado.

We remember a large tornado which could have devastated McCook and towns to the west had it only shifted its path a few miles, and there are many other such stories old-timers can relate.

The National Weather Service office in Goodland, Kansas, wants to remind us of the dangers, by issuing a test tornado watch from 10 to 11 a.m. CDT Wednesday, followed by a test tornado warning for Dundy, Hitchcock and Red Willow counties at 10:40 a.m.

We're encouraged to review our safety procedures at that time, schools are asked to consider conducting a tornado drill and municipalities are asked to consider sounding sirens.

You can check out a Nebraska Severe Weather Awareness packet here.

You can also keep in touch with the National Weather Service office in Goodland on Facebook and Twitter.

The number of tornadoes was actually down last year, but that doesn't mean we should let down our guard, or that the number will be down again this year.

Nationally, there were 1,478 tornados, the lowest number listed in the 61 years covered by the annual Storm Prediction Center. Nebraska had 49 tornadoes last year, compared to 54 in an average year.

Last year's tornado season kicked off with a brief landspout tornado near Shelton March 19, it snowed in early May, and the tornado season peaked in May with 23, compared to only nine in June, four in August and nine in October. The worst tornado was an EF4 in Wayne on Oct. 4.

Be prepared. It's good advice whether it comes to smoke alarms, insurance or seatbelts. Take a few minutes this week to review what you, your family and coworkers will do next time the tornado sirens go off.

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