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.
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
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.