Know the difference between a tornado watch, warning

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We have had severe weather here in the Commonwealth the past several weeks.

We have heard a lot of tornado warnings and watches. Do you know the difference between the two?

Each year many people are killed or seriously injured by tornadoes despite advance warning. Some do not hear the warning, while others may hear the warning but did not believe they are personally threatened.  Knowing the difference in a watch and warning and knowing what to do, can save your life. Watches and warnings for tornadoes are issued by the National Weather Service and broadcast on NOAA Weather Radio and on local radio and television stations.

A tornado watch means that tornadoes are possible in and near the watch area. People in a watch area should review their tornado plans and be ready to act if a warning is issued or if they suspect a tornado is approaching.

A tornado warning means that a tornado has been sighted or indicated by weather radar.  Tornado warnings indicate imminent danger to life and property. People in a warning area should go immediately to their safe room. If they are in a vehicle, they should get out of the vehicle and go to shelter in a nearby sturdy building or lie flat in a low spot away from the vehicle.

Preparing for a tornado

During any storm, listen to local news or a NOAA Weather Radio to stay informed about watches and warnings. Here are some things you should do:

• Know the community warning system. Communities have different ways of warning residents about tornadoes, with many having sirens intended for outdoor warning purposes.

• Pick a safe room in your home where household members and pets may gather during a tornado. This should be a basement, storm cellar or an interior room on the lowest floor with no windows.

• Practice periodic tornado drills so that everyone knows what to do if a tornado is approaching.

• Move or secure lawn furniture, trash cans, hanging plants or anything else that can be picked up by the wind and become a projectile.

• Prepare for high winds by removing diseased and damaged limbs from trees.

Watch for tornado danger signs:

• Dark, often greenish clouds—a phenomenon caused by hail

• Wall cloud—an isolated lowering of the base of a thunderstorm

• Cloud of debris

• Large hail

• Funnel cloud—a visible rotating extension of the cloud base

• Roaring noise

Intermediate genealogy class

Have you started your family tree but not sure how to keep going and finding more information about your family?

On Thursday, May 12, at 6:30 p.m. at the Carroll County Extension Service local genealogist, Jim Graves of Ghent will teach a special session helping you continue to locate history about your family.

This local genealogist has been studying his family roots for years and continually “digs up” more interesting history about his family. This is why he loves to share ways and resources to help others research their own family history.

At the program he will teach and show more keys to understanding your personal documents plus give an in-depth look at a variety of other research documents, and ways to locate family history.

Registration is requested because a lot of free information will be distributed and we want to have enough copies for everyone. Fee for the session is $5, payable at the door.

Grace Angotti is Carroll County Extension agent for family and consumer sciences. Call her at (502) 732-7030 or send e-mail to gangotti@uky.edu.