About 75 tornadoes touched down in Kansas, Oklahoma, Iowa and Nebraska in a 24-hour period this past weekend. Some fatalities were reported, but sternly worded warnings like this from the National Weather Service’s Storm Prediction Center - “mass devastation is highly likely” - may have saved lives as residents of those states kept their weather radios on and closely monitored weather news on television and on their smartphones.
The Associated Press reported that several fatalities occurred in Oklahoma, where storms knocked out a town’s warning sirens. A National Weather Service meteorologist quoted in the story said residents need several ways of receiving warnings, and that sirens should not be used as the primary source of a warning (hear that, Strasburg residents?).
Shenandoah County on Monday launched its first mass notification system that will send alerts to residents by email, mobile phone or land-line and in TTY/TDD formats. The $12,500 Delta-Alert system was paid for by a federal grant and can be used to alert residents about natural and man-made disasters, accidents, evacuations and fires as well as alerts for missing children and senior citizens.
If you live in Frederick County, visit that county’s website at www.co.frederick.va.us and click on the AlertFrederickCounty link.
As the meteorologist noted, we need to stay informed about what is happening around us. These alert systems are just one tool that you can use to keep you and your loved ones safe.