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Tennessee Severe Weather Awareness Week Begins Feb 17, 2013

NASHVILLE, Tenn. – With 2013 already setting a record for Middle Tennessee’s second-highest month ever for tornado outbreaks, emergency managers, meteorologists and broadcasters are engaging in a coordinated campaign to promote Tennessee Severe Weather Awareness Week, Feb. 17, to Feb. 23, 2013. 

Throughout the week, TEMA, the National Weather Service (NWS), Tennessee Association of Broadcasters (TAB) and other support­ing groups will conduct educational activities and drills to help people prepare for tornadoes, damaging winds, flash floods, lightning and hail. 

The NWS and its Skywarn Storm Spotters Network will focus each day of the week on safety steps and warnings for specific weather threats, such as lightning and flash flooding.   For Tennessee’s number one threat, tornadoes, NWS with conduct this year’s statewide tornado drill around 9 a.m., CST, on Wed., Feb. 20. 

TEMA will also use the press event to conduct a statewide emergency communications radio exercise to illustrate how emergency responders use technology to communicate with each other during disasters and emergencies. 

The state EAS plan provides guidelines as to how Tennessee’s broadcasters, cable and wireline television operators issue warnings to the public.  This is the first major revision to the plan since 1998 and includes more alerting authorities and incorporates many new technologies that did not exist 15 years ago. 

The Tennessee State Emergency Communications Committee conducted the EAS plan revision process with the input of its many members who include: TEMA; NWS; TAB; Tennessee Cable Telecommunications Association; Metro Nashville Mayor’s Office of Emergency Management; Galain Solutions; National Center for Emergency Preparedness at Vanderbilt University Medical Center; Cable, Satellite and Wireline Operators; Public Television; and the Society of Broadcast Engineers. 

According to NWS records, the total of 22 tornadoes makes the Jan. 30, 2013 event the largest January tornado outbreak in Middle Tennessee history, eclipsing the previous record of 12 tornadoes that occurred on Jan. 24, 1997.  It also makes Jan. 30, 2013 the second biggest outbreak of tornadoes for any month in Middle Tennessee history.  The largest tornado outbreak on record occurred on April 3, 1974 when 24 tornadoes struck the Mid-State. 

For more information on Severe Weather Awareness Week and preparing for severe weather, visit TEMA’s website at www.tnema.org, or download TEMA’s ReadyTN smartphone application, http://www.tnema.org/ReadyTN/index.html, available for iPhone, iPad and Android phones.

 
MCCOC