Severe Weather Awareness Week is this week (April 17-21). The Northfield News
was kind enough to publish a short piece in tomorrow's (Wednesday) paper.
Here is a list of the topics highlighted by each day. So far this week, we've had the wind, hail, and lightning. We don't need the tornados and can well do without the severe heat issues. The following information was provided by Northfield Emergency Management Director, Tim Isom
.Monday - Lightning Awareness:
Eighty five percent of lightning victims are children and young men ages 10-35 engaged in recreation or work. Twenty percent of strike victims die and 70% of survivors suffer serious long-term after effects.
To avoid being struck by lightning, you should seek shelter when you hear even the faintest thunder. Some of the best places to take refuge are enclosed buildings, or cars and buses (but don't touch the metal). In case there are no safe spaces nearby, bend into a crouching position
until there is a break in the storm. Isolated trees, telephone booths, and open structures like gazebos or porches make poor lightning shelters. If there is a tall object nearby, move as far away as possible - at least 2 meters (7 ft). Standing next to tall isolated objects like poles or towers makes you vulnerable to secondary discharges coming off those objects.Lightning Safety
If you can see it, flee it; If you can hear it, clear it.
The 30/30 Rule says to shut down when lightning is six miles away. Use a "flash to bang" (lightning to thunder) count of five seconds equals one mile (10 = 2 miles; 20 = 4 miles; 30 = 6 miles). It's usually safe after no thunder and no lightning have been observed for thirty minutes, everyone has to make their own decisions.Tuesday - Severe Weather Warning Systems:
Outdoor warning systems - sirens are designed to warn people of a potential safety hazard while they are outside, away from a radio or television. They are not designed to be heard in every building in town.
There are 9 sirens located throughout the city. There is a ten year growth plan that anticipates the addition of sirens as the community grows. Because of security concerns, we won't go into the specifics of location or technical operations here.
In the event of a tornado warning, the sirens in Northfield will activate and will continue to activate every 15 minutes during the warning, until the warning expires.
Weather radios with Specific Area Message Encoding (SAME) that can be programmed to warn you specifically of the your warning area in which you live (Rice or Dakota County in the Northfield area). With homes built as tightly as they are today with air-conditioning, you probably won't hear an outdoor warning siren. Just like you should have smoke detectors and carbon monoxide detectors, each home should also have a weather radio.Wednesday - Heat Waves:
Heat kills by taxing the human body beyond its abilities. In a normal year...about 175 Americans succumb to the demands of summer heat.Heat Survival Tips
Reduce strenuous activities by eliminating the activity or reschedule to a cooler time of the day.
Dress for summer in light weight, light-colored clothing reflects heat and sunlight and helps your body maintain a normal temperature.
Watch what you eat: foods such as proteins increase metabolic heat production and result in increased water loss.
Drink plenty of water or other non-alcoholic fluids. Drink fluids even if you do not feel thirsty. However, those who suffer from epilepsy, heart, kidney or liver disease or on a fluid restrictive diets or have a problem with fluid retention should consult their physician before increasing their consumption of fluids. Avoid alcoholic beverages.
Spend more time in air-conditioned places. Spending time in an air-conditioned environment during hot weather affords some protection.
Be careful not to get too much sun. Sunburn makes the body's job of dissipating heat more difficult.*Thursday - TORNADO DRILL DAY*
The statewide tornado drill is held on Thursday. The National Weather Service will simulate a tornado watch beginning at 9 a.m. Two tornado drills are planned. The first will take place statewide at 1:45 p.m.; all jurisdictions will activate their warning systems. This first drill
allows schools, businesses, and hospitals to practice their sheltering plans.
Northfield will participate in a second drill, at 6:55 p.m. The evening drill will allow families and second-shift workers an opportunity to practice their sheltering plans.Friday - Flash Flood
On a national level, floods claim nearly 200 lives annually...force 300,000 persons from their homes...and result in property damage in excess of 2 billion dollars. Characteristically, 75 percent of flash flood deaths occur at night with half of the victims dying in their automobiles or other vehicles. It may be difficult to believe...but many deaths occur when persons knowingly drive around road barricades indicating the road is washed out ahead.
Last year, one of the heaviest rainfalls in Minnesota history occurred in south central and southeast portions of the state on September 14th and 15th. Several counties picked up over ten inches of rain, and there were some reports of thirteen inches. Flooding was widespread around Fairmont, Blue Earth, Owatonna, Albert Lea, and into southeast Minnesota. There was one fatality in Austin.Are you prepared?
Assume a thunderstorm produces 6 inches of rain in less than 6 hours time near your community. Storms of this magnitude or greater occur several times each year in the U.S.
Would you know what action to take to protect yourself and the people who depend on you for safety? After a major flood event one of the most common quotes from the survivors of
the flood is the expression they did not believe it could happen to them or in their community.Before the flooding?
There is nothing anyone can do to prevent the occurrence of flash flood producing rainfall. However; by striving for sound flood plain zoning, developing an emergency action plan in advance of the disaster, purchasing flood insurance at least 30 days before the flooding and
being aware of the dangers associated with extremely heavy rainfall and flooding, there is a chance of decreasing the death toll and property damage that results from flash flooding.
You can learn more about these topics and others by going to the following location:http://www.severeweather.state.mn.us/
Get information about how to prepare a disaster kit, make an emergency plan, and staying informed at http://www.ready.gov/
Finally, if you are involved in an organized outdoor activity such as soccer, baseball, or other community events, take a SKYWARN class to better understand the severe weather warning signs. Bring a weather radio with you and know your emergency responses. Most of all...plan ahead. If severe weather is forcast, reschedule your activity. A "normal" thunderstorm like we experienced tonight produced dangerous lightning and hail. Common sense and good planning is your best protection.
If you would like a presentation for your neighborhood, business or organization; or you would like to attend a SKYWARN (weather spotter) course, please call the Northfield Safety Center at 507-645-4477 or email our emergency management director, Tim Isom