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Alabama Severe Weather Awareness Week began Sunday

Alabama Severe Weather Awareness Week began Sunday

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Surviving dangerous weather is the focus of Severe Weather Awareness Week in Alabama.

Gov. Kay Ivey, the National Weather Service offices that serve Alabama, the Alabama Emergency Management Agency and other supporting organizations have declared the week of Feb. 21-27 as Severe Weather Awareness Week. John De Block, meteorologist for the National Weather Service office in Birmingham, says the goal is to educate Alabamians about the dangers of severe weather and what supplies are needed to reduce their risk of harm.

“Know what you are going to do when that warning is issued,” De Block said. “Get that alert and get to safety.”

For your severe weather preparedness plan to be successful, weather forecasters say you must:

  • Have at least two reliable methods of receiving emergency information, such as a weather alert app on your smartphone and a NOAA weather radio.
  • Understand terminology, such as the difference between a watch and a warning.
  • Know how and where to protect yourself when severe weather strikes.
  • Know what to do if severe weather hurts you or causes damage to your property.

“We’ve got to have multiple ways of getting that information,” De Block said. “Our technology is great but on any given day things happen. Your phone might be down on charge so you have that weather radio standing by. That’s why we have that backup, that other system that you’re going to use to get that notification.”

Emergency management says you should make sure your shelter and safety supplies, such as helmets, flashlights and water, are easily accessible, as well as sturdy shoes or boots and gloves to wear in the event severe weather damages your home. If fallen trees cause damage to nearby powerlines, avoid them.

“We design our system using the latest technology so that our customers can receive reliable service,” said Eric Boykin, Distribution support manager for Alabama Power. “However, when severe weather does occur, we are prepared to safely restore power as quickly as possible.”

To encourage people to stock emergency supplies, the state of Alabama will hold its 10th annual Severe Weather Preparedness Sales Tax Holiday Feb. 26-28. Starting at 12:01 a.m. Friday and ending at midnight Sunday, shoppers in Alabama can purchase severe weather preparedness items free of state sales tax. The list includes batteries, cellphone chargers, flashlights and first-aid kits.

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