James P. McNabb
COLUMBIA, MO (May 13, 2009)—With the threat of widespread severe thunderstorms through mid-Missouri this afternoon and tonight, the Columbia/Boone County Office of Emergency Management (OEM) reminds residents now is the time to review their disaster plans for severe weather. Schools, hospitals, businesses and families are advised to evaluate plans, and stay updated on the latest weather information through the day.
"The thunderstorms we are receiving this morning are just the first wave of storms expected to enter the area,” said OEM Director James McNabb. “The National Weather Service tells us that the anticipated storms this afternoon and tonight have the potential for large hail, damaging winds and possible tornadoes. The highest potential for tornadoes is central and eastern Missouri, including Columbia and Boone County. We cannot stress enough that everyone needs to stay informed of the latest weather information, and have a plan in place in the event of severe weather. Last week’s severe weather in southern Missouri serves as a prime example of how dangerous these storms can be."
While the Office of Emergency Management would activate the county’s outdoor warning sirens in the event of a tornado, McNabb reminds residents that the outdoor warning sirens are designed primarily to warn people who are outside. If you are indoors, the best way to be alerted to severe weather is by having a weather radio, or to be tuned to local media when severe thunderstorms are a possibility.
During severe weather, OEM implements a Storm Spotter Activation System, in which trained spotters will be sent to areas where storms are having an impact. The work of those trained spotters can give critical advance warning when storms threaten Columbia and Boone County. Residents are encouraged to tune into local media broadcasts for details on storm movement and damage reports. They are also asked to refrain from calling 911 during a storm, unless an emergency is actually occurring. Power outages should be reported to local utilities.