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Public Information Statement

Statement as of 6:00 AM CST on March 02, 2015


... Todays topic for severe weather preparedness week in Oklahoma and
Arkansas is severe thunderstorms...

This week... the National Weather Service and the federal emergency
management agency are highlighting the importance of planning and
preparing for severe weather before it strikes. Being prepared to
act quickly can be a matter of life and death.

Citizens of Oklahoma and Arkansas are urged to use this week to plan
and prepare for the upcoming severe weather season. Review severe
weather safety rules and better understand The Hazards associated
with severe thunderstorms.

The National Weather Service office in Tulsa will issue statements
highlighting a different topic each day during the week... and todays
topic is severe thunderstorms.

Thousands of thunderstorms occur in Oklahoma and Arkansas each
year. Due to a variety of adverse weather conditions produced by
thunderstorms and the fact that all thunderstorms produce
lightning... they are all dangerous. Severe thunderstorms are
particularly dangerous because they produce damaging wind...
hail... and tornadoes. Thunderstorms could also produce flash
flooding. A thunderstorm is defined as severe when it produces wind
of at least 58 mph... hail 1 inch in diameter or larger... or a
tornado.

All thunderstorms produce lightning and on average... lightning is
the number two weather related killer annually across the
country... claiming an average of 53 lives per year. If you are
close enough to a thunderstorm to hear thunder then you are close
enough to be struck by lightning. In 2014... lightning killed 26
people in the United States... two of which were in Arkansas.
Increasing public awareness about lightning and lightning safety
over the past few years is likely directly attributable to the low
number of fatalities last year and the past several years.
Lightning will be discussed in more depth on Thursday.

Wind gusts from severe thunderstorms can exceed 100 mph and produce
tornado-like damage. This severe wind can overturn trailers...
unroof homes... topple trees... blow down power lines... and cause
injuries and sometimes death. In 2014... thunderstorm wind killed
four people and injured four others in Arkansas.

Severe thunderstorms can produce hail that can occasionally grow to
sizes larger than softballs. Hailstones fall at speeds exceeding
100 mph and are very destructive. In fact... hail causes nearly one
billion dollars in damage to property and to crops across the United
States each year. Injuries often result from large hail but
fatalities are relatively rare. Hail up to 3 inches in diameter
occurred in both Arkansas and Oklahoma in 2014.

Flash floods are another hazard that thunderstorms pose. On
average... floods are the number one weather related killer across
the country each year. Most flash flood fatalities occur at night
when it is harder to see and are a result of victims driving their
vehicles into flood waters. Flash floods will be discussed in more
depth on Friday.

Finally... tornadoes are spawned by some severe thunderstorms. On
average... Arkansas experiences about 33 tornadoes per year and 57
tornadoes develop in Oklahoma in a typical year. In 2014... there
were 20 tornadoes confirmed in Arkansas and only 16 tornadoes
confirmed in Oklahoma. These tornadoes resulted in 17 fatalities
and several hundred injuries in Arkansas and one fatality and a
dozen injuries in Oklahoma. Tornadoes will be discussed in more
depth on Wednesday.

There are things you can do to help protect yourself from severe
thunderstorms. Know the difference between a watch and a warning
and have several sources of weather information that work... even if
you lose power during a storm. Have a severe weather action plan
that everyone in your family uses during severe weather events.
Have a designated safe place that is in the interior of your home
and is away from windows.

The safest place is a reinforced safe room... whether it be an
underground one or above-ground shelter. Above-ground shelters have
proven to be as safe as underground shelters if they are certified
and have been constructed to meet those certification standards. If
no reinforced safe room is available... then sheltering in a basement
or small interior room on the lowest floor of the structure is
advised. Cover your head and try to get under something heavy like
a large table... if that is available. Mobile homes and vehicles are
not safe places to be during severe weather.

Further information about severe thunderstorms and severe weather
safety can be obtained from your National Weather Service office in
Tulsa at weather.Gov/Tulsa or the American Red Cross.


Weather Severe Map
Alabama - Special Statement , Public Information Statement
Alaska - Freezing Rain Advisory , Record Report , Public Information Statement
Arizona - Areal Flood Advisory , Areal Flood Watch , Wind Advisory , Winter Weather Advisory , Winter Storm Warning , Record Report
Arkansas - Flood Warning , Winter Storm Watch , Special Statement , Public Information Statement
California - Flash Flood Warning , Areal Flood Watch , Winter Weather Advisory , Winter Storm Warning , Beach Hazard Statement , Record Report , Public Information Statement
Colorado - Winter Weather Advisory , Winter Storm Warning , Blizzard Warning
Connecticut - Record Report , Public Information Statement
Delaware - Public Information Statement
Florida - Flood Warning , Public Information Statement
Georgia - Flood Warning , Public Information Statement
Hawaii - High Surf Advisory
Idaho - Winter Weather Advisory
Illinois - Winter Weather Advisory , Special Statement , Public Information Statement
Indiana - Winter Weather Advisory , Special Statement , Record Report , Public Information Statement
Iowa - Winter Weather Advisory , Public Information Statement
Kansas - Public Information Statement
Kentucky - Areal Flood Watch , Special Statement , Record Report , Public Information Statement
Louisiana - Flood Warning , Special Statement , Record Report , Public Information Statement
Maine - Wind Chill Advisory , Record Report , Public Information Statement
Maryland - Public Information Statement
Massachusetts - Public Information Statement
Minnesota - Blizzard Watch , Winter Weather Advisory , Blizzard Warning , Blizzard Warning, Winter Weather Advisory , Special Statement
Mississippi - Flood Warning , Winter Storm Watch , Special Statement , Public Information Statement
Missouri - Winter Storm Watch , Special Statement , Public Information Statement
Montana - Winter Weather Advisory , Winter Storm Warning , Wind Chill Advisory
Nebraska - Flood Warning , Winter Weather Advisory
Nevada - Winter Weather Advisory , Special Statement , Record Report
New Hampshire - Public Information Statement
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New Mexico - Wind Advisory , Winter Storm Watch , Winter Storm Warning
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Oklahoma - Public Information Statement
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Pennsylvania - Flood Advisory, Flood Watch , Flood Watch , Winter Weather Advisory , Public Information Statement
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Texas - Flood Warning , Dense Fog Advisory , Special Statement , Record Report , Public Information Statement
Utah - Areal Flood Advisory , Winter Storm Warning , Winter Weather Advisory , Avalanche Warning , Public Information Statement
Vermont - Public Information Statement
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Washington - Special Statement
West Virginia - Areal Flood Watch , Flood Watch , Record Report , Public Information Statement
Wisconsin - Winter Weather Advisory
Wyoming - Winter Weather Advisory , Winter Storm Warning , Special Statement , Public Information Statement