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Insider Blog: Severe weather preparedness basics

Spring starts Sunday so it's time to talk about preparing for severe weather season. 

First, let's talk about tornado sirens and why they're not reliable.

Each community has different guidelines for when they can activate their tornado sirens. You may be surprised but sirens are sometimes activated for storms that are not considered severe. The National Weather Service has guidelines that aim to prevent this, but not all municipalities follow these suggestions.

In addition, even if all are activated symmetrically, they're only meant for supplemental alerts. They are not meant for people who are inside or traveling, they are only for those that are outside when severe weather is immanent. 

So let's talk about a better option, especially for those who are inside. The NOAA weather radio is great because it doesn't require a cellphone, you can plug it in, you can set your alerts, and you can leave it alone. If you do have a cellphone, it does make a great backup alert, a great second method of receiving those warnings. You can set it and forget it, just plug it in and have a battery so it is still working incase the power does go out. 

You can also download our ABC17 Stormtrack weather app. This will give you access, not only to warnings and alerts, but future track, live radar, our forecast, and a live stream of not only regular newscasts, but also severe weather coverage. 

In addition to having more than one way to receive alerts, you should brainstorm your severe weather preparedness plan. Know where to go, how long it takes you to get there, and know where you're going to meet afterwards.

Lastly, be on the lookout for this year's Severe Weather Special, where we bust severe weather myths, discuss how you can stay safe in vulnerable situations, and explain our Weather Alert Day process.

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John Ross

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