Kansas City, MO -- The deadliest tornado in United States history cut a path of devastation through communities in Missouri, Illinois and Indiana on March 18, 1925. According to the National Weather Service, the four months following March averaged the highest number of tornadoes between 1999-2001. In addition, severe spring storms can also produce heavy snows, flooding and high winds.
"Individuals, communities and businesses can be dramatically impacted by the effects of severe weather," said Richard Hainje, Regional Director for FEMA Region VII. "However, there are actions you can take to reduce the damage when disaster strikes."
Because of the potential devastation that can occur as a result of severe storms, you should begin taking steps now to protect yourself and your home from the dangers associated with the various types of severe weather. FEMA recommends doing the following before severe storms strike:
- Reinforce attached garage overhead doors to withstand high winds.
- Securely connect a manufactured home to its concrete foundation and to the ground with over-the-top tie downs to withstand flooding and high winds.
- Install a sewer line backflow prevention valve to stop sewer backup.
- When installing roof shingles, screw down wood sheathing to roof rafters and install 6 to 8 nails per shingle to withstand high winds.
- When located in a floodplain, elevate the gas meter, electrical service panel, furnace, central air conditioner and the ductwork above known flood levels.
- Build a tornado shelter using FEMA?s Safe Room plans (www.fema.gov/mit/saferoom).
Preventive actions can range in cost from a few dollars to a few thousand, but every dollar spent can make a difference in protecting homes and families from disaster.
FEMA assisted in the recovery from 45 major disasters in 2001 and obligated more than $2.2 billion through the first half of December.
For additional information contact Linda Winkler, FEMA Region VII public affairs officer, at (816) 283-7080. More information regarding severe weather awareness can also be obtained through the National Weather Service web site http://220.127.116.11/om/severeweather. Information regarding tornadoes, severe thunderstorms and floods can be obtained from the following FEMA web sites www.fema.gov/library/tornadof.shtm, www.fema.gov/library/thunderf.shtm and www.fema.gov/hazard/floods/floodf.shtm.