Being aware of severe summer weather
By Chris Erickson
If you weren’t yet thinking about the hazards of severe summer weather, then governmental agencies have some news for you.
North Dakota Severe Summer Weather Awareness Week is typically set for April 27 through May 1, and a proclamation from Gov. Jack Dalrymple has extended that through May 4. The time allows the public, businesses, schools, and government agencies to get their preparations in order before bad weather strikes.
A tornado test warning was scheduled for Wednesday, April 29, around 11:15 a.m. for the entire state. The National Weather Service in Bismarck received an FCC waiver to test the Emergency Alert System during that time as well.
According to NWS Warning Coordination Meteorologist John Paul Martin, awareness weeks in the state are joint efforts of many agencies, including but not limited to FEMA, the North Dakota Department of Emergency Services, the North Dakota Broadcasters Association, and the NWS. Local emergency managers help to get the word out about severe weather in North Dakota, also helping people to be prepared.
The week is designed to spring awareness forward from blizzards and freezing temperatures to the severe weather of the season, like conditions that come with thunderstorms such as lightning, hail, high wind, flash floods, and tornadoes.
Local Emergency Manager Carmen Reed stated that a new reverse 911 system is already in place, well before severe summer weather. The system is called the Federal Integrated Public Alert and Warning System, and is designed to send out alerts to all cell phones in the chosen area that aren’t on another call when the alert is sent.