Awareness Info 2013 Severe Weather NWR & Wireless Emgergency Alerts Tornado and Severe Weather Safety Rules

Severe Weather Awareness Week

March 1 - 7, 2015

Severe Weather Awareness Week Information

Tornadoes, damaging thunderstorm winds, large hail, and flash floods can occur at any time of the year. However, late winter and spring usually bring the greatest chance of these severe weather events occurring in Louisiana.

The week of March 1, 2015 has been designated as Severe Weather Awareness Week in Louisiana. The goal of the awareness week is to call attention to the threats posed by these weather hazards and to review severe weather safety rules in an attempt to reduce the loss of life and injury. Post-storm interviews with survivors of severe weather events prove that preventative safety measures greatly enhance the chance of survival.

Now is the time to develop a severe weather safety plan. A successful plan should include:

  • Knowledge of terminology such as watches and warnings
  • Knowledge of safety rules to follow when severe weather strikes
  • A reliable method of receiving emergency information
  • Review and testing of the plan.

Emergency managers, schools, government agencies, private businesses, and local citizens are encouraged to review their severe weather safety plans and conduct drills as appropriate. 

Louisiana 2014 Severe Weather Summary

Last year, 2014, was another fairly quiet year overall with regard to severe weather across the state. A total of only 15 tornadoes were recorded in Louisiana last year, the lowest statewide total in 20 years when only 8 tornadoes were recorded in 1994. The long term annual average number of tornadoes for Louisiana is 37 tornadoes.

There were three strong tornadoes reported in the state. The most damaging tornado was a strong( EF2) tornado that touched down in the Monroe area, and was part of a fast moving line of thunderstorms that swept across north Louisiana on October 13. The tornado caused approximately 3.75 million dollars in damage as it tracked for nearly 9 miles across the Monroe area.  None of the tornadoes resulted in deaths or injuries.  There were three injuries reported in the state during the year from strong thunderstorms winds when trees were blown down onto houses.  No lightning related deaths or injuries were reported in the state in 2014.

2014 Louisiana Tornado Highlights

  • Total Number of Tornadoes: 15 - lowest number since 1994
  • Number of Strong Tornadoes: 3 - all rated EF2 on Enhanced Fujita Scale
  • Average Annual Tornadoes: 37 - (averaging period 1991-2010)
  • Number of Tornado Injuries: 0
  • Number of Tornado Deaths: 0

Louisiana Tornadoes
Louisiana Tornadoes since 1980

Severe Weather Highlights in Southeast Louisiana

Only four tornadoes occurred in the southeast part of the state, with all but one being a weak tornado. A strong tornado, rated as an EF2, touched down just east of Amite, and tracked for around 5 miles damaging numerous trees and heavily damaging several houses along its path. There were no injuries or fatalities reported with any of the tornado events in the region. However, there were two minor injuries associated with a severe thunderstorm event that downed a tree which fell onto a house in Kentwood during a severe thunderstorm on June 24th


Amite, LA Tornado Damage
Tornado Damage east of Amite, LA
December 23, 2014

Amite, LA Tornado Damage
  Tornado Damage east of Amite, LA
December 23, 2014


NOAA Weather Radio - Tornado Test Message

As part of the Severe Weather Awareness Week activity we will transmit a Tornado Test Message on NOAA Weather Radio Wednesday morning, March 4th, around 9:15AM. The test message will be similar to the Routine Weekly Test message transmitted each Wednesday. Some NOAA Weather Radios will alarm with the test message, others will only have a TEST message displayed on their LCD screens. The test message will allow individuals and organization to make sure their NOAA Weather Radios are in good working order, and also is a good time to review severe weather safety plans. In the event of severe weather the test will be postponed to a later date.

Wireless Emergency Alert Messages

Severe Weather Criteria

National Weather Service considers the following criteria as severe weather phenomenon:

  • Hail 1 inch in diameter or larger (quarter-sized or greater)
  • Measured wind gusts greater than 58 MPH (50 knots)
  • Observed wind damage, such as fallen trees, property damage, etc.
  • Tornado - a funnel cloud that contacts the ground
  • Flash flooding or flooding that causes death, injuries, or property damage

Local Severe Weather Climatology

To get local parish and county specific severe weather climatology, please visit here.  

Severe weather can happen at any time of the year, but it is most common during the months of March, April, and May in Southeast Louisiana and Southern Mississippi.

Severe weather can also happen at any time of the day, but it is most common during the afternoon hours in Southeast Louisiana and Southern Mississippi.

NOAA Weather Radio & Wirless Emergency Alerts

NOAA Weather Radio is a vital communication link in your severe weather safety plan. NOAA Weather Radio broadcasts continuous weather information. When severe weather watches and warnings are issued, most NOAA Weather Radios are automatically alerted and turned on so that you are alerted about a potential severe weather situation. Some receivers can be programmed specifically for the parish or county where you live.

In the southern United States...including the Gulf Coast states...tornadoes can occur at night. Unfortunately...nocturnal tornadoes have a much greater chance of causing fatalities and injuries as many people are asleep and not monitoring weather conditions or media to know if warnings have been issued. NOAA Weather Radios can be a life saving weather monitoring device during the overnight hours. The Weather Radio can be set in "stand-by" mode overnight and will automatically alarm and turn on if a severe weather watch or warning is issued. When a Severe Thunderstorm or Tornado Watch or Warning is issued, the weather radio will automatically alert and broadcast the warning.

Six transmitters serve southeast Louisiana and southwest and coastal Mississippi.  Click here for additional information on NOAA Weather Radio.

NWS Weather Radio Transmitter Sites

New Orleans/Baton Rouge Area Transmitters

Wireless Emergency Alerts

A relatively new way to receive weather warnings is from the Wireless Emergency Alert feature enabled on many newer model cell phones. Most wireless carriers have also incorporated this feature into their service. This new warning dissemination avenue allows government agencies to send urgent critical messages directly to cell phones in an impacted area. Apps or additional software are not needed. While messages will look very similar to text messages when received, they include a special tone and vibration repeated twice. For additional information, on the Wireless Emergency Alert (WES) feature visit the NWS Weather Ready Nation web site:, and also your cell phone provider.

Wireless Emergency Alert Messages

NWS Local Forecast Office Areas of Responsibility 

Louisiana-Mississippi Map

New Orleans/Baton Rouge

Lake Charles




Tornado and Severe Weather Safety Rules 

During a threat of Severe Weather – closely monitor the weather and the latest forecast.

If a Watch is issued – stay alert and be prepared to take action

If a Warning is issued – take action

  • Seek shelter in an interior room on the lowest floor of your home or business such as a closet, bathroom, or hallway
  • Protect your head from flying debris! If possible, use a helmet, mattress, pillow, or anything that will provide better protection than your hands
  • Abandon mobile homes and vehicles for more substantial shelter
  • Stay away from windows, and do not waste time trying to open them
  • Do not take shelter under a highway or overpass is the U.S. government's official web portal to all federal, state and local government web resources and services.