Oklahoma Higher Education Campus E-Clips sponsored by the Communicators Council

April 2013

“Storm Ready" Program at Southeastern Offers Safety Tips for Severe Weather

Rick Smith of the National Weather Service.

Rick Smith of the National Weather Service makes a graphic point about the dangers of lightning during the Storm Ready presentation at Southeastern Oklahoma State University.

Southeastern Oklahoma State University’s “Storm Ready” presentation Feb. 20 was both informative and enlightening.

Rick Smith, a warning coordination meteorologist with the National Weather Service in Norman, delivered a PowerPoint presentation that featured graphics of actual tornadoes and their aftermath.

Smith said tornadoes are nature’s most violent storms and the best protection is simply, "Get In! Get Down! Cover Up!"

“It’s not a matter of if we will have tornadoes in Oklahoma, it’s when," Smith said. “They are most common from March to June, but can occur any day of the year. I tell people that tornado season is from Jan. 1 to Dec. 31."

Approximately 50 people watched and listened as Smith urged everyone to take cover when thunder, lightning or hail are present. He said it is never wise to try to outrun a tornado in your vehicle.

A storm shelter or safe room is the best bet, if available. Otherwise, he advised to seek shelter on the lowest floor of a building, in a closet or room without windows or outside walls. Use layers for protection, including helmets of any kind, blankets, comforters, sleeping bags, etc.

Smith said the best advice is to have a plan in place in case of bad weather. Know in advance what you will do and how you will do it. Be prepared with battery-powered weather radios, first-aid kits and sturdy clothing.

Also providing information during the two-hour program, held in Southeastern’s newly renovated ballroom, were James Dalton, director of the Durant/Bryan County Emergency Management Office, and Stacy Ballew, Southeastern chief of police.

The audience included university staff and students as well as community members.

This program was part of the ongoing Southeastern Organization Leadership Development (SOLD) series at the university.

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