Ides of March = Potential Severe Weather


Really? Well, maybe not the 15th (Ides) of March, but the first day of spring this year is March 20, and as the season changes from winter to spring we do begin to see more severe weather.

To help us be better prepared for those events, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) and The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) declared March 2-8 as National Severe Weather Preparedness week. This year’s focus is on knowing your risk, taking action, and being an example.

Check your regional National Weather Service Forecast office for information about severe weather preparedness for your area.

Today, let’s talk about tornadoes. For an animated look at how tornadoes progress across the United States (all tornadoes, 1950-2012) throughout the year, check this United States Tornadoes blog post by Katie Wheatley.
Looking for information on tornado safety? Nearly every Extension service in the country has tornado safety information posted. Here are a few.

Alabama Cooperative Extension System recently published Tornado Safety in PDF and HTML formats. It offers tips for recognizing conditions that may develop into a tornado. Readers also learn about the difference between watches and warnings, safe and unsafe locations during tornadoes, things your kids can do to get ready, and ways to protect you and your family. Tennessee State University has a handy 2-page (1 sheet if you print front and back) Tornado Safety check sheet.

Oklahoma Cooperative Extension Service provides several recommendations for tornado safety away from home. A tornado can strike anywhere at any time. Purdue University has 10 tornado safety tips for its students and faculty. Does your campus have similar tips and resources?

University of Illinois Extension produced Tree House Weather Kids, an interactive website for kids and teachers. There is also a Spanish version.  Extension professionals at the University of Nevada, Oregon State University, and Montana State University collaborated to create Tornado Tabletop Exercise Curriculum: Engaging Youth in Community Emergency Management.

The Extension Disaster Education Network collected resources following the 2011 and 2012 tornado seasons. These resources were identified after affected states indicated there was need for the specific items. Perhaps you can also use them if you work with communities recovering from tornadoes.

You can find many more tornado safety publications and resources from land-grants by using the search term “tornado safety” at eXtension’s one-stop

Soothsayer warning Julius Caesar

Oh, and a piece of trivia about the Ides of March – Julius Caesar was assassinated on that day in 44 BC.