The Shawnee News-Star
  • Weather aware: Severe storms expected this week

  • Wednesday’s mostly sunny skies are expected to turn cloudy in the evening hours and bring a 30 percent chance of severe showers and thunderstorms, especially after 1 a.m.
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  • Wednesday’s mostly sunny skies are expected to turn cloudy in the evening hours and bring a 30 percent chance of severe showers and thunderstorms, especially after 1 a.m.
    A National Weather Service Hazardous Weather Outlook said very large hail is possible overnight and damaging straight-line winds could become a primary concern. Wednesday night’s forecasted low is 62.
    There is a 20 percent chance storms could continue through early Thursday afternoon. Highs remain in the 70s and 80s throughout the week.
    Severe storms could return Saturday through late Sunday. The NWS said anyone participating in outdoor activities should pay close attention to weather forecasts.
    Shawnee/Pottawatomie County Emergency Management Director Don Lynch encourages families to have storm plans in place, such as where they would take shelter whether they’re at home, at work, or other places. Having a tornado plan, ways to stay weather-aware, along with an emergency supplies kit are suggested.
    In efforts to promote preparedness for whatever type of severe season is ahead, emergency officials provide the following tips.
    Home tornado plan
    Pick a place where family members can gather if a tornado is approaching, such as a basement, a center hallway, bathroom or closet on the lowest level of a home. That place should be kept uncluttered and be easily accessible in an emergency. It’s also a good idea to have a flashlight, radio and other gear ready for use in that shelter.
    “The time to identify your shelter is before you need it,” he said. “When a warning is issued, you need to seek shelter immediately, not try to determine where your shelter will be or try to drive somewhere to take shelter.”
    The city of Shawnee will continue to offer the public storm cellar in Boy Scout Park at Main and Pesotum Streets. At times when school is not in session, the locker room/safe room at North Rock Creek School will be opened to the public. And until a replacement can be found, Lynch said there is some space in the basement of Shawnee city hall.
    To be prepared for any scenario, families should practice tornado drills much like they would a fire drill, Lynch said, and those who live in mobile homes should find a neighbor with a storm shelter well before a storm becomes severe. Those living in upstairs apartments also should become acquainted with neighbors downstairs and be prepared to take shelter in the lower unit.
    Storm watches, warnings
    Lynch said knowing the difference between watches and warnings can help save lives. A tornado watch means that conditions are favorable for the development of severe weather that may produce a tornado. Residents should keep a “watch” on the weather for rapidly changing conditions. A Tornado Warning means that a tornado has actually been sighted or is indicated by radar. Lynch said persons in the path of the storm should take immediate precautions to protect their safety.
    Page 2 of 2 - Receiving storm warnings
    Lynch also recommends having multiple means of receiving severe weather warnings. Local television and radio station alerts, a NOAA all-hazards (weather) radio, e-mail, text, and telephone alerting systems are all good methods of receiving the warning, he said.
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