Kansas City, MO -- Spring is quickly approaching; March 20 is the first day. With the season comes the possibility of severe weather: thunderstorms, lightning and even tornadoes. Such severe storms frequently cause flooding. Officials of the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) urge residents to take preventive measures now to reduce the risk of severe weather damage.
"Severe weather has the potential to inflict costly damages to our homes and our businesses, and to disrupt our daily lives," said Dick Hainje, Regional Director for FEMA Region VII. "But there are actions you can take now to prepare yourself and your family for emergency events and to lessen the damage when disaster strikes."
The four states of FEMA Region VII - Iowa, Kansas, Missouri, and Nebraska - have to deal with storms and flooding almost every year. Ten years ago, the Great Midwest Floods of 1993 caused disaster declarations in each state. Since 1999, there has been at least one disaster declaration each year for tornado damage in a Region VII state. Last year alone, in Region VII, a devastating January ice storm, spring tornadoes, and summer flooding wreaked havoc on the lives of citizens and communities.
In cooperation with the National Weather Service, each state in Region VII has designated a week in March as Severe Weather Awareness Week to encourage citizens to take stock of their emergency plans and supplies.
March 10-14: Missouri and Kansas will observe Severe Weather Awareness Week with special activities and information. In Missouri, a statewide tornado drill will take place at 1:30, Tuesday, March 11. For more information go to
March 24-28: Iowa will observe Severe Weather Awareness Week. A statewide tornado drill will take place on Wednesday, March 26. More information is available at
March 31-April 4: the state of Nebraska will observe Severe Weather Awareness Week. A statewide test, with mock tornado watches and warnings, will take place on Wednesday, April 2. More information is available at http://www.nebema.org/
There are steps individuals can take now to protect their families in the event of dangerous spring weather.
- Learn the warning signs
- Develop an emergency supply kit. Include basics such as water and non-perishable food. Flashlights, a blanket, a first aid kit and medicines will help a family survive on their own for up to 72 hours.
- Consider purchasing a NOAA weather radio. These radios broadcast National Weather Service warnings, watches, forecasts and other post-event information for all types of hazards, both natural (such as earthquakes and volcano activity) and environmental (such as chemical releases or oil spills), 24 hours a day.
To protect your home from the dangers associated with the various types of severe weather, consider taking some of the following measures before severe storms strike:
- Securely anchoring manufactured homes to concrete foundations.
- Installing backflow valves in waste lines to prevent contamination.