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Severe Weather Awareness week kicks off Monday

Weather drill held on March 23
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Posted at 10:21 AM, Mar 21, 2022

CLEVELAND — Severe weather awareness week kicks off Monday, March 21.

Everyone tries their hardest to prepare for and predict the weather, but sometimes it can come as a surprise. Tornados, thunderstorms and hurricanes— the list is endless when it comes to severe weather, but so is the list of ways to be prepared.

“Plug in your cell phone, have flashlights nearby. Make sure you have batteries for that flashlight, of course,” said Sima Merick, the executive director of the Ohio Emergency Management Agency.

Also, have a family evacuation plan and store any papers in safe secure places. Lastly, pack a preparedness kit for before and after the storm. Merick said never attempt to drive on flooded roads.

“Being prepared means having, you know, sustainable food, water and other supplies that last for a couple of hours to a couple or several days,” said Merick.

Every weather event is different, sometimes you can see a thunderstorm 50 miles away or hear it.

“If you hear it, then you're close enough to be in danger. So if you are in that situation, do not go under a tree, go into a sturdy building and stay away from the windows in a lightning storm,” said Freddie Zeigler, the warning coordination meteorologist at the National Weather Service Cleveland office.

Also, stay out of the shower during a storm because those pipes can't be conductors.

“The biggest thing that we tell people is to turn around, don't drown. Water can displace a car, even with 6 inches of water, it can displace the car and actually move that car,” said Zeigler.

Then there are things like tornados that come fast.

“Many local jurisdictions throughout the state of Ohio are equipped with tornado sirens or warning sirens,” said Merick.

Once you hear that warning or get an alert on your TV or phone, it's important to seek shelter.

“Go in the basement where the structure is very strong. There, there's the flooring that helps,” said Zeigler.

At the end of the day, the weather is an unstoppable force, continuously officials reiterate the more prepared you are, the safer you will be.

On Wednesday, March 23 from 9:15 a.m. to 9:50 a.m., there will be the statewide weather drill where students and employees will hear the sound of a tornado siren.

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