Looking back and learning from May 24, 2011

May 24 imageOn May 24, 2011, a series of 12 tornadoes swept across Oklahoma, Arkansas, and Kansas, claiming 18 lives and leading Governor Mary Fallin to declare a State of Emergency for 68 Oklahoma counties. The one year anniversary for this tragic event serves as a reminder to continue to stay alert and be prepared for the threat of severe weather.

Nationwide, the month of May in 2011 broke the record for the deadliest since 1933, with 178 lives claimed from major disasters in Joplin and Oklahoma alone.  The best way to protect your family from disaster is to be prepared. Evaluate your severe weather procedures before there is an immediate threat. Refresh the memory of everyone in your household about your plan and ensure all are comfortable executing the plan in a timely manner if an emergency situation arises.

Rick Smith, warning coordination meteorologist at the National Weather Service Forecast Office in Norman, Okla., urges awareness and preparedness.

“In Oklahoma it is not a question of if it’s going to happen, it’s when,” Smith said. “As we saw on May 24, 2011, it only takes one day to have a huge impact.”

As Smith pointed out, this year has served as a contrast to the active tornado season of 2011 but there are still plenty of opportunities for threatening conditions. It is essential to stay alert and informed about the weather even when conditions don’t appear to be particularly threatening.  A severe weather situation can change very quickly and unpredictably. Are you ready?