Public Information Statement

PUBLIC INFORMATION STATEMENT
NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE BIRMINGHAM AL
745 AM CST WED FEB 22 2006


...TODAY IS TORNADO AWARENESS DAY....


SEVERE WEATHER AWARENESS WEEK CONTINUES TODAY WITH A CLOSER LOOK AT
TORNADOES AND TORNADO SAFETY.  THE MONTHS OF MARCH THROUGH MAY ARE
KNOWN AS THE SPRING TORNADO SEASON.  A FALL TORNADO SEASON ALSO
EXISTS FROM NOVEMBER THROUGH MID DECEMBER.  ALABAMA IS ONE OF THE
FEW LOCATIONS IN THE WORLD THAT HAS TWO DISTINCT SEVERE WEATHER
SEASONS.


A TORNADO IS DEFINED AS A VIOLENTLY ROTATING COLUMN OF AIR IN
CONTACT WITH THE GROUND.  IF THE CIRCULATION IS NOT ON THE
GROUND...THEN IT IS DEFINED AS A FUNNEL CLOUD.  TORNADOES USUALLY
DESCEND FROM THUNDERSTORMS.  WIND SPEEDS IN TORNADOES RANGE FROM
40 MILES PER HOUR TO AROUND 318 MILES PER HOUR IN THE MOST VIOLENT
OF STORMS.


YOUR SAFETY DEPENDS ON BEING CONSTANTLY AWARE OF THE POSSIBILITY OF
SEVERE WEATHER.  A TORNADO WATCH IS NORMALLY ISSUED FOR A LARGE AREA
COVERING NUMEROUS COUNTIES.  THE WATCH IS INTENDED TO GIVE YOU TIME
TO REVIEW YOUR SAFETY RULES.  THE SKY MAY BE SUNNY...BUT WEATHER
CHANGES VERY QUICKLY.  STAY TUNED TO YOUR NOAA WEATHER RADIO OR
LOCAL BROADCAST MEDIA FOR THE LATEST WEATHER INFORMATION.


A TORNADO WARNING IS ISSUED WHEN A DEVELOPING TORNADO HAS BEEN
DETECTED BY NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE DOPPLER RADAR OR HAS BEEN
REPORTED ON THE GROUND.  A TORNADO WARNING IS TYPICALLY ONLY ISSUED
FOR ONE OR TWO COUNTIES AT A TIME...AND USUALLY LASTS NO MORE THAN
45 MINUTES. IF A TORNADO WARNING IS ISSUED FOR YOUR COUNTY...YOU
SHOULD SEEK SHELTER IMMEDIATELY.  IF YOU SEE A TORNADO OR FEEL
THREATENED...MOVE TO A SAFE PLACE IMMEDIATELY AS PRECIOUS SECONDS
CAN SAVE YOUR LIFE.


HERE IS SOME IMPORTANT INFORMATION REGARDING TORNADO SAFETY...

IF YOU ARE IN A HOME OR SMALL BUSINESS...GO TO THE BASEMENT OR
TO A SMALL INTERIOR ROOM SUCH AS A CLOSET...BATHROOM...OR INTERIOR
HALLWAY WITHOUT WINDOWS ON THE LOWEST LEVEL.  PUT AS MANY WALLS
BETWEEN YOURSELF AND THE OUTSIDE AS POSSIBLE.  IF POSSIBLE...GET
UNDER SOMETHING STURDY SUCH AS A HEAVY TABLE OR USE A MATTRESS TO
PROTECT YOURSELF FROM FLYING DEBRIS.  MOST INJURIES ASSOCIATED WITH
HIGH WINDS ARE FROM FLYING DEBRIS...SO REMEMBER TO PROTECT YOUR
HEAD.  IF AVAILABLE...PUT ON A BICYCLE OR MOTORCYCLE HELMET TO
PROTECT YOURSELF FROM HEAD INJURIES.


IF YOU ARE IN A LARGE BUSINESS...SCHOOL...HOSPITAL...SHOPPING
CENTER...OR FACTORY...GO TO THE DESIGNATED SHELTER AREA.  IF A
SHELTER AREA IS NOT AVAILABLE...THE BEST PLACE TO GO IS AN INTERIOR
HALLWAY ON THE LOWEST LEVEL.  STAY AWAY FROM THE STRUCTURALLY WEAKER
PORTIONS OF BUILDINGS SUCH AS WINDOWS AND ROOMS WITH EXPANSIVE
ROOFS...WHICH ARE MORE LIKELY TO COLLAPSE WHEN TORNADOES STRIKE.  DO
NOT WASTE TIME OPENING WINDOWS IN AN ATTEMPT TO PREVENT DAMAGE TO A
BUILDING.  THE OLD BELIEF THAT DAMAGE COULD RESULT FROM RAPID
PRESSURE CHANGES DURING A TORNADO IS NOT TRUE.  IT WILL NOT MAKE ANY
DIFFERENCE IN A TORNADO IF THE WINDOW IS OPEN OR NOT.  YOUR SAFEST
COURSE OF ACTION IS TO TAKE SHELTER IMMEDIATELY WHEN A TORNADO
WARNING IS ISSUED FOR YOUR AREA.


IF YOU ARE IN A MOBILE HOME OR VEHICLE...GET OUT AND TAKE SHELTER IN
A STURDY BUILDING OR STORM SHELTER.  IF THERE IS NOT AN ADEQUATE
BUILDING NEARBY...GET TO A LOW SPOT AND COVER YOUR HEAD FROM FLYING
DEBRIS.  DO NOT TAKE COVER UNDER AN OVERPASS AS THIS DOES NOT
PROVIDE ADEQUATE SHELTER DURING A TORNADO...AND CAN ACTUALLY CAUSE
INCREASED WIND SPEEDS DUE TO A TUNNELING EFFECT.

IF YOU HAVE ANY ADDITIONAL QUESTIONS ABOUT TORNADOES AND TORNADO
SAFETY..CONTACT THE BIRMINGHAM NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE OFFICE AT
(205) 664-3010.

TOMORROW...THURSDAY FEBRUARY 23...WE WILL HIGHLIGHT FLOOD AND FLASH
FLOOD AWARENESS.  FOR ADDITIONAL DETAILS CONCERNING SEVERE WEATHER
AWARENESS WEEK...PLEASE VISIT BIRMINGHAM`S NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE
OFFICE WEBSITE AT WWW.SRH.NOAA.GOV/BMX.
$$
JBW

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