EMA Events and Activities
Despite the recent historic cold snap, spring will eventually arrive and with it will come our next severe weather season. In preparation for that, the National Weather Service has declared the week of March 1st through March 5th as "Severe Weather Awareness Week" in Kansas. As a show of support for this public outreach campaign, the Butler County Board of Commissioners has also proclaimed that as "Severe Weather Awareness Week" in the county.
Statewide Tornado Drill: Tuesday, March 2nd at 10:00 a.m.
As part of Severe Weather Awareness Week, a Statewide Tornado Drill will again be conducted. On the morning of March 2nd, many jurisdictions will sound their storm sirens, and the NWS will trigger a test of the NOAA Weather Alert Radios. Whether you can actually hear an alert activation or not, everyone is encouraged to take the opportunity to practice tornado sheltering during that time period. To keep safe from COVID-19, though, you may need to make some adjustments, especially if your shelter location serves a large number of people. In order to participate in the drill but still follow public health recommendations (like social distancing guidance), you may want to simply shelter-in-place or talk through your sheltering steps with family or co-workers. See below for sheltering recommendations during in an actual emergency.
Severe Weather Awareness Information Packet
Like previous years, the NWS has put together an informational packet about Kansas' severe weather statistics and events. That packet can be downloaded by clicking on this link: 2021 Severe Weather Awareness Packet
Severe Weather Training: "Storm Fury"
Last year the pandemic caused the National Weather Service to cancel their "Storm Fury on the Plains" public education events (also known as "Storm Spotter Classes"). This year they are still unable to offer in-person classes; however, they have set up a series of virtual training events instead. To register for one of their web-based Storm Fury classes, visit the NWS website: https://www.weather.gov/ict/spottertalks
Sheltering During the Storm: COVID-19 Considerations
Individuals who shelter from storms in a populated space such as a community storm shelter, may be concerned about acquiring COVID-19 if they go to that shelter. Both the Kansas Division of Emergency Management (KDEM) and our office advocate addressing the most life-threatening problem first. During a dangerous storm, it is more important to get people out of the path of that storm than to keep them separated to prevent disease spread. Choosing not to shelter (or selecting an inadequate shelter instead) could result in storm-related injuries or deaths. However, there are still ways to lessen your risk of getting sick. If you do go to a community shelter, try to space yourself out from people outside your household (if the shelter is large enough). Also, wear a mask while in the shelter and make use of any available hand sanitizer.