Severe weather is one of the most common hazards in a community. Flooding, severe thunderstorms, high wind events, winter storms, and tornadoes are the most common severe weather events in Wood County. Preparedness, common sense, and understanding common notification terminology are the keys to staying safe during severe weather events. Everyone must take personal responsibility for staying updated on rapidly changing weather and flooding events. The easiest way to do this is to have an “all-hazards” weather radio, sign up for CodeRED alerts, and monitor local media outlets when conditions are likely for severe weather or flooding.
COMMON WEATHER TERMINOLOGY:
WATCH – A “watch” is issued when authorities determine that conditions are right for the development of severe weather. Typically a “watch” is issued for a 2-6 hour time period. When a “watch” is issued, everyone should begin to monitor conditions closely and start planning what you will do to keep yourself safe should conditions becoming threatening.
WARNING – A “warning” is issued when a severe weather event is actually occurring or when indications are the event will likely happen. A “warning” is issued for a specific area for a specific (shorter) time frame. When a “warning” is issued, everyone needs to take immediate action to properly protect themselves from the severe weather event. Preparedness actions need to take place during a “watch” while immediate protective actions need to take place during a “warning.”
OUTDOOR WARNING SIRENS:
Outdoor warning sirens are designed and intended to notify the public who are outside (of structures) that there is an emergency situation in their area. Outdoor warning sirens should never be used as a primary means to receive emergency notifications when inside structures. Everyone should have an “All-Hazards” weather radio in their home or business as their primary means of receiving emergency notifications especially for severe weather. Outdoor warning sirens can be used to notify the public who are outside (of structures) for just about any emergency; however, the sirens are most commonly used when a tornado warning has been issued for the area. When a siren sounds, you should seek additional information on the emergency via local media outlets and take immediate and appropriate protective measures for your safety.
In Wood County, outdoor warning sirens are owned and maintained by the local governmental entity in which they are located (i.e. city, village, township) and they are activated by the Wood County Sheriff’s Communications Center. The sirens are tested on a monthly basis on the first Saturday of every month at 10:00 a.m. unless severe weather is forecasted for that time period. On occasion, the monthly test may have to be delayed to a later time (typically 12:00pm) or a different date. If this is necessary, every effort will be made to notify the public of the change through local media and social media.
OHIO SAFE ROOM REBATE PROGRAM (by Ohio Emergency Management Agency):
The Mitigation and Recovery Branch of the Ohio Emergency Management Agency provides a rebate program for the purchase and installation of safe rooms for Ohio homeowners. Residents selected for the program are eligible for a rebate up to 75 percent of the cost to install or construct a safe room (up to a max of $4,875). For more information on the Ohio Safe Room Rebate Program, please visit the Ohio EMA website: https://ema.ohio.gov/ema_saferoom/saferoom-concept.aspx
Ohio EMA makes this program available every year, so check the Ohio EMA website to see when the next round (usually in January) will take place if you have missed this year’s program.
ANNUAL SKYWARN SEVERE WEATHER SPOTTER’S TRAINING
Typically, once per year the National Weather Service Cleveland office provides severe weather spotter’s training for counties in their jurisdiction for official SKYWARN members, local first responders, and the general public. By completing this training, you will be eligible to be an official severe weather spotter for the National Weather Service. Even if your intent is not to be an official spotter but you just want to know more about severe weather, you are welcome to attend the training. The training is FREE. The EMA office works with the National Weather Service to set up the training in the county every year (only once a year spring or fall). The class typically lasts around 2 hours. Pre-registration is not required. You will register the night of the training. If you have any questions concerning this training, please contact the EMA office.
OHIO COMMITTEE FOR SEVERE WEATHER AWARENESS
For additional information on severe weather awareness, please visit the Ohio Committee for Severe Weather Awareness website by clicking on the link on the right hand side of the page. The Committee is comprised of numerous representatives from various organizations around Ohio to help educate Ohioans on severe weather safety. Please visit their web page for more important severe weather preparedness information.
OHIO SEVERE WEATHER AWARENESS WEEK
Each spring, the Governor declares a week for severe weather awareness in the State of Ohio. As part of Severe Weather Awareness Week in Ohio, a statewide tornado drill is designated to give residents, businesses, and schools the opportunity to practice taking protective measures in the event of a tornado. Wood County does activate the outdoor warning siren system for this test (unless actual severe weather is threatening the area). This year’s dates are as follows:
CodeRED Community Enrollment link:
LINKS TO CURRENT WEATHER AND HYDROLOGY INFORMATION:
www.noaa.nws.gov [Conditions, forecasts, and hydrology (river flooding) information.]