Prepare for severe weather in Southwest Alabama on March 18—tips on how to stay safe

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NWS Mobile predicts enhanced risk for parts of Southwest Alabama today. (NWS Mobile on Facebook)

The National Weather Service in Mobile has placed parts of Southwest Alabama on Enhanced risk today, meaning there are dangerous storms and a potential tornado for those areas. Here are tips on how to prepare.

Be prepared

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A handy guide to tornado watch vs warning. (NWS Mobile on Facebook)

Mobile and surrounding areas should be on high alert for potentially dangerous storms from 8AM-4PM on March 18th. Here’s what the NWS has warned:

A TORNADO WATCH remains in effect for all of southeast Mississippi and parts of southwest Alabama until 10 am. Another watch will be considered for areas further east as the event progresses through the day. A warm front will continue to surge northeast across the area through the morning hours and thunderstorms will considerably increase in coverage in the WATCH area. The greatest risk for severe weather was expanded earlier this morning to include the entire area (enhanced risk). Storms will be capable of producing: Large hail (up to golf ball size), Damaging wind (up to 70mph), a️nd Tornadoes (a STRONG TORNADO is possible).

Please have multiple ways to receive warning information today. Know where your safe place will be and be prepared to seek shelter if warnings are issued for your location.

As of 9:34, the Tornado Watch was extended for a number of Southwest Alabama counties, including Mobile.

Staying safe

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Are you ready for possible severe weather? Pat is! (Pat Byington/The Bama Buzz)

Severe weather, including flooding, tornados and hail, happens often in Alabama. The best way to keep yourself and your family safe is to have an action plan.

Here are the best tips from the National Weather Service on how to prepare:

  • Be Weather-Ready: Check the forecast regularly to see if you’re at risk for tornadoes. Listen to local news or a NOAA Weather Radio to stay informed about tornado watches and warnings. Check the Weather-Ready Nation for tips.
  • Sign Up for Notifications: Know how your community sends warnings. Some communities have outdoor sirens. Others depend on media and smart phones to alert residents of severe storms capable of producing tornadoes.
  • Create a Communications Plan: Have a family plan that includes an emergency meeting place and related information. If you live in a mobile home or home without a basement, identify a nearby safe building you can get too quickly, such as a church or family member’s.
  • Pick a safe room in your home, such as a basement, storm cellar or an interior room on the lowest floor with no windows. Check more ideas for your family plan at: https://www.ready.gov/make-a-plan
  • Practice Your Plan: Conduct a family severe thunderstorm drill regularly so everyone knows what to do if a tornado is approaching. Make sure all members of your family know where to go when tornado warnings are issued. Don’t forget pets if time allows.
  • Prepare Your Home: Consider having your safe room reinforced. You can find plans for reinforcing an interior room to provide better protection on the Federal Emergency Management Agency website.
  • Help Your Neighbor: Encourage your loved ones to prepare for the possibility of tornadoes. Take CPR training so you can help if someone is hurt.

Keep your electronics charged, and if you don’t have access to a televised weather broadcast, be sure to follow your local NWS branch on social media for the latest updates:

Stay safe, Alabama!

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Gabby Gervais
Gabby Gervais
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