WASHINGTON – The U.S. Department of Homeland Security’s Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA)—through its regional offices in Chicago, Kansas City and Denton (Texas)—is monitoring the possibility of tornadoes and large hail Saturday afternoon and evening across much of Nebraska, Kansas, and western Iowa. Residents in potentially affected areas should take the time now to prepare for severe weather and to monitor conditions via NOAA Weather Radio and local media.
FEMA is in close contact with the National Weather Service, which is forecasting the development of severe thunderstorms across the Great Plains Saturday afternoon and evening. The storms may bring the potential for significant severe weather events. Comprehensive forecasts for specific areas are available at www.weather.gov.
When natural disasters like severe weather and tornadoes strike, immediate aid often comes from neighbors, family, friends and co-workers. First responders—such as local emergency and public works personnel, volunteers, humanitarian organizations and numerous private interest groups—provide rapid emergency assistance to protect the public's health and safety and to meet immediate human needs.
Severe Weather and Tornado Safety Tips
- Maintain an emergency supply kit both at home and in the car to help prepare for power outages or impassable roads. Visit www.ready.gov or www.listo.gov to learn more about how to be better prepared and how to protect your family during emergencies. Find severe weather and tornado preparedness tips at http://www.ready.gov/severe-weather.
- Follow the instructions of state and local officials, and listen to local radio or TV station for updated disaster response and sheltering information. Listen to a NOAA Weather Radio and local news to monitor for severe weather updates and warnings. The National Weather Service is the official source for tornado watches and warnings.
- Many mobile devices are capable of receiving free Wireless Emergency Alerts, which are sent by public safety officials such as the National Weather Service about imminent threats like severe weather. They look like a text message and show the type and time of the alert, any action you should take and the agency issuing the alert.
- Become familiar with the terms used to identify severe weather. Discuss with your family what to do if a watch or warning is issued.
Terms Used to Describe Tornado and Other Severe Weather Hazards
- A Flood Watch is issued when conditions are favorable for flooding.
- A Flood Warning is issued when flooding is imminent or occurring.
- A Flash Flood Watch is issued when conditions are favorable for flash flooding.
- A Flash Flood Warning is issued when flash flooding is imminent or occurring.
- A Flash Flood Emergency is issued when severe threat to human life and catastrophic damage from a flash flood is imminent or ongoing.
For a severe thunderstorm:
- A Severe Thunderstorm Watch is issued when severe thunderstorms are possible in and near the watch area.
- A Severe Thunderstorm Warning is issued when severe thunderstorms are occurring or imminent in the warning area.
For a tornado:
- A Tornado Watch is issued when severe thunderstorms and tornadoes are possible in and near the watch area. It does not mean that they will occur. It only means they are possible.
- A Tornado Warning means a tornado is imminent, take shelter immediately.
- A Tornado Emergency is issued when severe threat to human life and catastrophic damage is imminent or ongoing, and reliable sources confirm a tornado.
FEMA's mission is to support our citizens and first responders to ensure that as a nation we work together to build, sustain, and improve our capability to prepare for, protect against, respond to, recover from, and mitigate all hazards.
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