Editorial Roundup: Kentucky

Frankort State Journal. February 27, 2024.

Editorial: Statewide tornado drill an opportunity to prepare

If we learned anything from the December 2021 tornado outbreak in western Kentucky it is that they can strike in an instant. To help residents better prepare for emergencies, the National Weather Service, Kentucky Emergency Management, the Kentucky Weather Preparedness Committee and the Kentucky Broadcasters Association will conduct a statewide tornado drill on Wednesday, March 6.

During the drill, which is planned for 10:07 a.m. and is part of the state’s Severe Weather Awareness Week activities, the National Weather Service will issue a test tornado warning message. The message will activate weather alert radios, tornado warning sirens and television and radio stations. Cellphones will not be affected unless they contain a third-party weather app, which may trigger the alarm function.

Since 1950 there have been 1,353 tornadoes in Kentucky. Those storms resulted in 222 fatalities and 3,715 injuries. The tornadoes amounted to more than $1 trillion in property damage and $2.1 million in crop damage, according to National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration data.

Emergency management authorities offer the following suggestions to prepare in advance:

• Have a family tornado plan in place and practice a drill at least once per year.

• Have a pre-determined place to meet after a disaster.

• Learn the signs of a tornado: dark, greenish sky; large hail; dark, low clouds; and loud roaring sounds.

• When a tornado watch is issued, increase your situational awareness by monitoring the weather on weather.gov, watching local TV, or listening to NOAA Weather Radio.

• Flying debris is the greatest danger in tornadoes, so store protective coverings such as a mattress, sleeping bags, thick blankets, etc., at or near your shelter space, ready to use on a few seconds’ notice.

• Put as many walls and floors between you and the tornado as possible.

• If you are in a mobile home, get out. Go to a neighbor’s, underground shelter or a nearby permanent structure.

• When a tornado warning is issued, go to your basement and stay away from windows. If you have no basement, go to a small interior room like a bathroom or closet on the lowest floor and crouch down. Even in an interior room you should cover yourself with thick padding to protect against falling debris, such as the ceiling or roof.

We encourage local residents to practice during next week’s drill in order to know what to do when an emergency strikes.