April 22-28 is the first-ever National Severe Weather Awarness Week

One year ago this week, one of the largest tornado outbreaks in U.S. history raked the southeastern United States, spawning more than 300 tornadoes and claiming hundreds of lives. 

Sadly, the historic outbreak like the cluster that moved through the central Plains last week reminds us of the need to be ever-vigilant in staying alert to and prepared for all kinds of extreme weather events. As we move into the heart of the 2012 severe weather season, with those lives lost weighing on our minds, NOAA and the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) have joined forces to kick off the first-ever National Severe Weather Preparedness Week, April 22-28.
As part of our NOAA-wide campaign to Build a Weather-Ready Nation, we’re calling on people across the country to “Be a Force of Naturewhen it comes to severe weather preparedness. Each day of the week, we’ll feature specific tips on how you can be a force of nature by knowing your risk, taking action and being an example. Starting April 22, visit the NOAA homepage, National Weather Service Weather-Ready Nation website and the NOAA and NWS Facebook pages to get your daily tips and more great NSWP Week content.  

We’re also reaching out to field offices across NOAA, nonprofit organizations and our industry partners such as The Weather Channel to help us spread the word.

In addition, NOAA and FEMA have developed a joint website for the week with a tool kit, action items, videos and preparedness information. Check out www.ready.gov/severeweather for the resources you need to become a force of nature yourself.

Being a force of nature goes beyond taking appropriate preparedness action. It’s about inspiring others to do the same. This is what makes this campaign different from other campaigns. We’re asking people not only to be prepared, but also to encourage their social network to act by texting, tweeting, or posting a Facebook status update.

One of the most memorable examples of this type of lifesaving behavior occurred during the recent March 2 tornadoes in Indiana. That day, after receiving a timely text message from her husband about an imminent tornado, Stephanie Decker took immediate action and gathered her children in the basement of her home. In shielding them from collapsing debris, Stephanie tragically lost parts of both of her legs. Her children, however, survived the storm unhurt.

Stories like Stephanie’s inspire us and fuel our resolve to build a Weather-Ready Nation and can empower each and every person across the country to be a force of nature. That’s what next week is all about. An informed and engaged public combined with the lifesaving work we do at NOAA every day will transform the way the country responds to severe weather.
Dr. Kathryn Sullivan
NOAA Deputy Administrator

 FEMA Intergovernmental Advisory

 April 18, 2012
FEMA and NOAA Launch First National Severe Weather Preparedness Week April 22 - 28, 2012
Know Your Risk, Take Action, Be a Force of Nature
The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) announce that they are partnering to increase awareness of the severe weather that affects everyone as well as encourage individuals, families, businesses and communities to know their risk, take action, and be an example through the Be a Force of Nature pledge campaign.

Next week marks the start of National Severe Weather Preparedness Week and also commemorates the one year anniversary of the devastating tornado outbreak in the central and southern states. In addition we remember that one month following, Joplin, Missouri was tragically affected and this year the country has already experienced deadly severe weather. The recent outbreaks of severe storms and tornadoes in the Midwest and Central Plain states have impacted causing loss of life and damaging communities. Every year, many people are killed or seriously injured by tornadoes and other types of severe weather, despite advance warning.  In 2011 alone, there were more than 1,000 weather-related fatalities and more than 8,000 injuries. Severe weather knows no boundaries and affects the whole community and because of this we are committed to supporting the safety of our communities and we’re calling on you to help us Be a Force of Nature.

What can you do to prepare and help us spread the word?
Knowing your risk, taking action and being an example are just a few steps you can take to be better prepared:
·         Know Your Risk: The first step to becoming weather-ready is to understand the type of hazardous weather that can affect where you live and work, and how the weather could impact you and your family. Check the weather forecast regularly and sign up for localized alerts from emergency management officials. Severe weather comes in many forms and your shelter plan should include all types of local hazards.
·         Take Action:  Be Force of Nature by taking the pledge to prepare at Ready.gov. When you pledge to prepare, you will take the first step to making sure that you and your family are prepared for severe weather.  This includes developing a family communications plan, putting an emergency kit together, keeping important papers and valuables in a safe place, and getting involved.  Visit Ready.gov/severeweather for more on family preparedness for severe weather.
·         Be an Example: Once you have taken action and pledged, share your story with your family and friends. Create a YouTube video, post your story on Facebook, or send a tweet. Post the Be a Force of Nature Widget on your social media profiles.
Our goal is to inform the public about severe weather hazards and provide knowledge which can be used to take action! 

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