Lawton_When severe weather warnings are issued, some folks ignore them - that's according to a new study by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA). The study is based on findings from the rash of 82 tornadoes that raked nine states throughout the south February 5 and 6, 2008. Some thought the threats were minimal since February isn't prime tornado season, and others said they didn't seek shelter until they saw the actual tornado.
Why is it that some people don't take severe weather warnings seriously?
If you live or have lived in an area that has severe weather - such as Texoma's Tornado Alley - you may become accustomed to the warnings. But, if you ignore those warnings and don't seek shelter, you may find it's too late. Before a disaster comes through your town, there usually are several warnings that notify you to seek shelter. The problem is some folks don't take those warnings seriously. Kathy Deleon says she likes severe weather. "We get excited to maybe come outside and see it," she said. "We take our precautions - but still it is kind of exciting."
Many Texoma residents share her sentiment, and get excited when severe weather hits. But, if you are not a trained storm spotter, experts say you should heed severe weather warnings. "Many times at SkyWARN 7 we see thunderstorms developing in advance, and we will issue strong thunderstorm warnings advisories that will come across at the bottom of your screen," said 7News Chief Meteorologist David Baxley.
Severe weather warnings can come from sirens, NOAA weather radios, and word of mouth. But, even with all of these warnings, those who have lived in the area for a long time seem to be desensitized. "Perhaps they become complacent," said one Texoma resident. "We saw just a couple of months ago with Lone Grove, Oklahoma, that it can happen anywhere, anytime of year, even in February." No matter the season, it always is best to have emergency shelters and supplies ready. Tornadoes can occur any time of year.
There is a difference between a 'watch' and a 'warning.' A 'watch' means that severe weather is possible, or close to the watch area. A 'warning' means that severe weather has been spotted or is imminent. When a severe weather 'warning' is issued, it is imperative that you and your loved ones seek shelter immediately.