Experts discuss severe weather and plans of action during tornad

Experts discuss severe weather and plans of action during tornado season

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LUBBOCK, Texas -

As West Texas is entering severe weather season, experts say it's a good time to start planning for the months ahead.

Christopher Weiss, an atmospheric science professor as Texas Tech, said starting in mid March through June the South Plains starts to see more severe weather like thunderstorms and tornadoes. 

"You know it's early in the season," he said. "It reminds us that we need to begin our preparation locally for what to do in the event of severe weather out here."

Emergency Management Coordinator Clinton Thetford said there are many ways to get updates about severe weather in our area, including RUAware notifications, LBK Alert and the National Weather Service

"Use every mechanism that you can to get situational awareness. Be aware of what the potential is of a severe threat," he said.

He added to always have a family emergency plan in the case of dangerous weather. 

"The next thing that we would recommend people do is develop a plan on how you're going to respond to that severe weather event that may occur," he said. 

The recent tornado in Alabama has again raised awareness around the country. Lubbock is no stranger, experiencing an F-5 tornado 49 years ago.

"Anytime there's a major tornado, emergency management at the local levels all the way up through the federal levels, look at the factors of what really facilitated those deaths," Thetford said. "Was is a lack of awareness, was is a lack of warning, was it a lack of timely warning?"

Weiss said he predicts a slightly above average tornado season for the South Plains. 

"Factors we look at for determining tornado production typically are the Gulf of Mexico water temperatures and the El Nino, La Nina phase. And both of those point to maybe slightly above normal tornado production this year," he said.

In the event of a tornado warning, the National Weather Service suggests going to a safe room, such as a basement or an interior room, away from any windows. Mobile homes, sheds and storage facilities are not considered safe. If you're in a car or outside, the best course of action is to get to a low-lying area, like a ditch, immediately.  

"Monitor a television, monitor a radio, the internet, cell phones now of course are giving us warnings on a consistent basis," Weiss said. "So just stay weather aware. Always check the forecast in the Spring, it's always a good idea to check the forecast before you head out in the morning, because we know it's Lubbock and the weather can change very quickly."

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