The first-ever National Severe Weather Preparedness Week begins Sunday, April 22, and Commerce's National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) and the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) have partnered to raise awareness and save lives.
Last year, storms raked the central and southern United States, spawning more than 300 tornadoes, claiming hundreds of lives and ranking as one of the largest tornado outbreaks in U.S. history. As the nation marks the first anniversary of that historic outbreak, from April 22-28 we’re asking each person across the country to “Be a Force of Nature” by knowing the risk, taking action and being an example. Starting April 22, visit the NOAA homepage, National Weather Service Weather-Ready Nation website and the NOAA and NWS Facebook pages to get daily tips on how you can become a force of nature.
The severe weather of 2012 has already brought to light many forces of nature across the country. There was Stephanie Decker in Indiana, who, after receiving a timely text from her husband about an imminent tornado, took immediate action and gathered her children in the basement. Shielding them from collapsing debris, Stephanie tragically lost parts of both of her legs, but her children were unharmed. Lisa Rebstock in Texas saved the lives of her children by being prepared with a plan and a kit before the storm struck. Eighty-eight-year-old Wilma Nelson survived the deadliest tornado in Oklahoma history in 1947 and proved her force of nature status yet again. She said she owes her life to a NOAA Weather Radio that alerted her of the tornado that struck Woodward, Oklahoma, April 15. We know that there are many more. In fact, we know that each and every person across the country has the potential to be a force of nature in their communities.
And that’s what National Severe Weather Preparedness Week is all about: empowering everyone to be a force of nature in their own social network. Being a force of nature means never bowing to extreme weather. It means taking appropriate actions before, during and after extreme weather strikes. It also means being connected to others and inspiring them to act.
For more information on how you can participate this week and increase both your and your community’s preparedness, check out www.ready.gov/severeweather. A digital toolkit is available at www.noaa.gov/wrn. Click on the Be a Force of Nature tab to access it.
Together we can save lives and transform the way the United States responds to severe weather.
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