Severe Weather Awareness Week held in Tennessee

CHATTANOOGA, Tenn. (WDEF) – This week is Severe Weather Awareness Week in Tennessee.

With events such as the 2011 Super Outbreak and the 2020 Easter Tornadoes in recent memory, the Tennessee Valley is no stranger to severe weather.

Being aware of what to watch out for in terms of warnings can be hugely beneficial in saving your life.

Amy Maxwell with Hamilton County Emergency Management said, “What we did as we went out and walked the devastated areas from the past tornadic activity that took a lot of lives and destroyed a lot of lives and homes and property, we realized that a lot of people that did not seek or did not receive that notification.”

In life or death situations, getting critical weather warnings is the first line of defense against severe weather.

The process of these warnings starts days in advance with convective outlooks from the Storm Prediction Center and National Weather Service.

Jeremy Buckles, a lead forecaster at the National Weather Service office in Morristown, said, “Those severe weather outlooks range from 1 to 5, with marginal being the lowest risk of 1, and high risk being like an April 27, 2011 type of outbreak.”

These outlooks then shift into watches and warnings on the day of a severe weather episode.

A watch means severe weather is possible, and a warning means severe weather is imminent or already occurring,

There are also variations on these watches and warnings you may hear occasionally.

These include Particularly Dangerous Situation Watches or Tornado Emergencies, which indicate more extreme weather events are occurring.

Buckles said. “I don’t want people waiting until they see the term tornado emergency to take shelter. Please take any watch, any warning seriously. For any watch, be prepared to take action immediately.”

For mobile home owners, taking these watches seriously ahead of time is of utmost importance.

Maxwell said, “If you do live in a mobile home, it is your responsibility to take care of you and your family, and prepare ahead of time. In the event that there may be severe wind or possible tornadoes, please seek out a family member or a friend who has a stable home that you can go and ride out the storm with.”

The ultimate line of defense against any weather emergency is a weather radio.

Maxwell said, “Get those weather radios, bring them over here to our emergency management agency office if they can’t come to one of our programming events, and we’ll be more than happy to program them for you, whether you live in Hamilton County or live in Georgia, or wherever you live, we can program those radios for you.”

Their office is located at 317 Oak Street.

Jenkins Road house destroyed by Easter tornado

Categories: Chattanooga, Featured, Hamilton County, Local News