2015 Severe Weather Awareness Week
Alabama and Tennessee: Sunday, February 15 - Saturday, February 21

Governor Robert Bentley of Alabama and Governor Bill Haslam of Tennessee have proclaimed Alabama and Tennessee's Severe Weather Awareness Week this February to be from Sunday, February 15th through Saturday, February 21st. Your National Weather Service, the Alabama and Tennessee Emergency Management Agencies, and other supporting organizations, ask your help in providing your relatives, friends, and neighbors with information about severe weather safety. Although severe weather outbreaks, along with the potential for strong to violent tornadoes, are more common during March, April and May, severe weather can happen at any time throughout the year here in the Tennessee Valley. So, take time NOW to learn more about severe weather and develop a safety plan of action when severe weather watches or warnings are issued. These best practices could save your life, and the lives of others.

Educational activities will be held throughout the week to promote safety and awareness of specific severe weather phenomena such as; tornadoes, damaging winds, flash floods, lightning, and hail. Each day of the week focuses on a specific type of severe weather.

The table below shows the severe weather theme for each day. Click on the links in the table to learn more about each severe weather-related topic.

Alabama Sales Tax Holiday

To end the week, the State of Alabama will host a sales tax holiday for preparedness items. Check to make sure your emergency kit is complete and use this opportunity to get any missing items. For details about what is included in the sales tax holiday, which runs February 20-22, 2015, check out this list from the state.  
Severe Weather Awareness Week Schedule
February 15
Different hazards associated with severe weather across the Tennessee Valley will be addressed each day of the week.  This is to emphasize the importance of proper preparedness, safety, and awareness well before severe weather impacts your area.  Having an efficient plan of action before weather occurs is essential to protecting your life and property. It is very important to recognize the SKYWARN (Amateur Radio Volunteers) and the Emergency Managers that work with us to help keep you safe.
February 16
Severe Thunderstorms and Damaging Winds and Large Hail
Damaging winds from severe thunderstorms are much more frequent than tornadoes in the Tennessee Valley. These "straight line" winds can exceed 80 MPH, at times, and can cover a much broader area than tornadoes. In addition, large hail can produce substantial damage to vehicles and houses.
February 17
Lightning is the underrated killer. All thunderstorms have lightning, and this hazard can be deceptively deadly.
February 18
Tornado Safety
The best way to survive a tornado is to be prepared ahead of time and have immediate access to a safe shelter (i.e. safe room/basement). Do not look for additional confirmation when a Tornado Warning is in effect for your area!!  Be prepared to take immediate action!
February 19
Flooding and Flash Flooding
Flooding is one of the top 3 weather-related killers in the United States. Flash flooding is a life threatening situation that can occur when water rapidly rises in flood prone areas and can catch people off guard. River flooding is a longer-duration event that can cause more widespread destruction.
February 20
NOAA All-Hazards Weather Radio & Weather Emergency Messages
NOAA Weather Radio (NWR) is the voice of the National Weather Service, and is your fastest way to receive automated warnings in case of severe weather. During hazardous weather, normal broadcasts are interrupted for severe weather watches and warnings, as well as other critical severe weather products. Weather Emergency Messages (WEA) are broadcast through cell phone towers in the warned area and alert directly on your phone. Click here to learn more about WEA.
February 21
Rocket City Weather Fest 
This is an annual community weather festival held at the University of Alabama in Huntsville.  It's an excellent educational opportunity, and provides a chance to meet community meteorologists and researchers, including NWS Huntsville forecasters. It will be held between 10 am and 4 pm at the Shelby Center (UAH) in Huntsville.
If you have not done so already, this is the time of the year to check your preparedness plans.
  • Make sure your NOAA All-Hazards Weather Radio has fresh batteries.
  • Make sure you have a means of receiving severe weather information.
  • Make sure you know what to do if severe weather approaches.

 Primary Severe Weather Season Ahead!!

The threat for strong to violent tornadoes and severe weather typically ramps up late February into March, prior to the peak of the severe weather season from March through May. Some recent examples of such events include: February 21, 2014 and April 28, 2014. On February 21st, an EF-2 tornadoes affected Dekalb County about 5 miles northwest of Fort Payne (picture of damage from this tornado on left).  Also on April 28th, EF-3 tornadoes did significant damage across western Limestone and eastern Lincoln counties (pictures of damage on right).

Across the Tennessee Valley, it is important to BE PREPARED for tornadoes and severe thunderstorms throughout the entire year!

The most active period of severe weather and tornadoes in the Huntsville Forecast Area historically occurs during the months of March through May. In fact, EF-3 to EF-5 tornadoes (strong to violent) are most typical during these months and a heightened weather awareness is even more important. The unprecedented tornado outbreak of April 27, 2011 was a grim reminder of how dangerous severe weather can be across the Tennessee Valley. Below are a few pictures of tornadoes and damage from the Super Tornado Outbreak of April 27th. 

This picture of a tornado was taken near the Guntersville Dam.
This picture of an EF-4  tornado was taken in Marshall county in the Ruth community.

This is a picture of damage from the Marshall/Cullman/Morgan EF-4 tornado.
This is a picture of damage from the Dekalb, AL/Dade, GA EF-5 tornado.
Additional Weather Safety Information

Keep Up With The Latest Weather Information By Clicking On The Links Below!
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Also, Keep Up With The Latest Spotter Class Schedule Below!

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