The anniversary of the devastating April 2011 tornado outbreak is this week. In an effort to commemorate the event, the University of Alabama, FEMA and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) are all promoting events this week to help educate the public on tornado preparedness and honor those whose lives were lost in the storms.
Spring, 2011 was the most active tornado season ever With a record-breaking 758 tornadoes in the month and the most tornadoes ever recorded in a single day on April 27, the spring of 2011 will be remembered forever. Residents of the deep south, where most of the 360 people killed last April lived, are still rebuilding their communities and putting their lives back together after the storms.
NOAA and FEMA have declared April 22 – 28 the first National Severe Weather Preparedness Week. This week will focus on educating people on how to be better prepared for severe weather, including tornadoes, and what steps they need to take to survive a life threatening storm. The campaign encourages people to remember these three severe weather guidelines:
- Know Your Risk – Stay informed of the local weather forecast and all severe weather alerts.
- Take Action – Make an emergency plan and put together an emergency kit.
- Be a Force of Nature – Share information about severe weather preparedness with others.
Also, a Tornado Research Symposium is scheduled for April 27 at the University of Alabama in Tuscaloosa. Alabama received the most damage during the April 25 – 28 tornado outbreak, which spanned an area from Texas across the deep south and up through the eastern states all the way to New York, as can be seen on this map . The April 27 storm was particularly hard on Tuscaloosa, as 53 residents were killed and 12 percent of the city’s homes were damaged. Researchers will use the symposium to share information and work toward better preparedness for the future.
I grew up in Tornado Alley, and was not far from the infamous May 3, 1999 tornado near Oklahoma City. Nothing can prevent a deadly tornado, but preparation can definitely save lives. That is why I recently wrote articles about arranging a safe place to take shelter before bad weather arrives and about putting together a tornado survival kit. These are exactly the types of actions that the National Severe Weather Preparedness Week advocate taking.
We may not be able to stop tornadoes, but through being better prepared we can reduce their death toll. On the anniversary of the worst tornado season in history, what better way could we honor those whose lives were lost?
More severe weather safety articles by Tavia:
Will New Tornado Warnings Save Lives?
Arranging Shelter Ahead of the Storms
Turn a 5 Gallon Bucket into a Tornado Survival Kit for Under $50