Alabama has declared this week Severe Weather Awareness Week, and even set aside this weekend for its 10th annual Severe Weather Preparedness tax-free holiday. Whether or not you plan to stock up on emergency supplies this weekend, the bottom line is: Be prepared. 

One of the most important things you can do for your own safety is learn your local geography. Know where your community shelters are, and have a good understanding of what types of weather is common for your area. Do you live in a flood zone? Also, know your surrounding counties and memorize major state highways and interstates as they are commonly used by the weatherman in reference to where severe weather is imminent or occurring. 

Speaking of imminent weather, know the differences between a watch and a warning. If you hear there is a thunderstorm, flood or tornado watch for your area, do not wait for the warning signal to seek shelter. A warning means the severe weather is already upon you. 

Have an understanding about the way weather statements are issued, and be sure you have what you need to keep up to date on the latest information, whether that be a weather radio or accessing radars from your smart phone (also make sure you have the appropriate tools such as batteries or portable chargers in case of emergencies or power outages). Lawrence County has a neat new media tool that allows our officials to issue emergency information and county news to local residents. The LC Public Safety app is available for download for most smart phones, and it is a great way to stay up to speed when severe weather is on its way. 

If you haven’t already made a plan in case of emergency, this week reminds us all to take that opportunity. Talk to your family or your household about severe weather threats and make preparedness plans together. This week make safety a priority, and be prepared.

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