Kansas Gears Up for Severe Weather Preparedness Week

By Trish Svoboda

With winter winding down and the arrival of warmer spring temperatures, Kansans remain mindful that the season may also bring in severe storms characterized by strong winds, tornadoes, heavy rainfall, and flooding. Governor Laura Kelly signed a proclamation on Feb. 20, officially declaring March 4-8, 2024, as Severe Weather Preparedness Week in Kansas, aiming to remind residents to stay prepared for such weather events.

“Preparedness is key to being safe during Kansas’ severe weather events,” Governor Laura Kelly said. “Early warning and spotter systems, local news outlets, and preparedness programs are critical to ensuring safety during severe weather. I urge all Kansans to do their part in being ready for severe weather.”

Last year, the state recorded 44 tornadoes, with zero fatalities, attributed in part to the preparedness of Kansans for severe weather.

The Kansas Division of Emergency Management advises creating a home emergency kit equipped with supplies to sustain each family member for at least three days. Essentials include nonperishable foods, one gallon of water per person per day, blankets, flashlights with batteries, a weather radio, extra clothing, necessary medications, and other survival necessities. In addition, kits should cater to household pets’ needs.

As part of the week’s events, Kansans are encouraged to join the statewide tornado safety drill scheduled for Wednesday, March 6, at 11:00 a.m. To prevent public confusion, a live tornado warning will not be broadcast on the NOAA Weather Radio. Instead, a Routine Weekly Test message will prompt individuals to practice seeking shelter. County emergency management offices may also activate alert sirens during this time.

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