Recent destructive weather shows need for preperation

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June 4th, 2013

Omaha, NE – There have been four deadly tornadoes in Texas and Oklahoma since May 15th bringing the death toll to 50. Tornadoes can be very unpredictable so the time needed to seek shelter isn’t always available.

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But one way to try to keep ahead of Mother Nature is by having a programmable weather radio. Scott Dergan Meteorologist at the National Weather Service explains the benefit of owning a weather radio.

Photo of May 20th Moore, Oklahoma tornado which killed 24 people. (photo courtesy Wiki Commons)

Photo of May 20th Moore, Oklahoma tornado which killed 24 people. (photo courtesy Wiki Commons)

“One of the biggest benefits of the weather radio is it that it can alert you anytime day or night,” Dergan said. “Most of the time people get their weather information from TV stations and such,” he said. “But what happens in the middle of the night when you are not watching TV and a tornado warning is issued for your area? The weather radio acts like a smoke detector in that regard, alerting your family to the potential for tornadoes or severe thunderstorms in your area,” Dergan said.

All weather radio programming and broadcasts are run by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration which is operated by the National Weather Service. However NOAA and the NWS don’t manufacture weather radios, instead they are constructed and sold by dozens of companies. Dergan said one of the newer features issue an alarm during a tornado warning.

“You are alerted only to the counties you want to be alerted (to),” Dergan said. “In other words, if you are in Douglas County, you (probably) want to be alerted (to) any storms in Douglas County, maybe Sarpy County and maybe a county to the west like Saunders (County),” he said. “The way that the new radios are working now is you can program all of those counties, so any alerts issued for those counties it would wake you up in the middle of the night,” Dergan said.

Dergan stressed the importance of having a storm shelter or basement to stay when warnings are issued. He also said it’s always best to keep up-to-date with the latest weather conditions. Prices of weather radios vary from $10-$150 and the styles vary just as much. Dergan said local officials and county agencies sometimes will offer vouchers or coupons to families who can’t afford a NOAA weather radios. Attempts to contact the Douglas County Emergency Management Agency were unsuccessful.

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