By Jan Schultz, The Imperial Republican News Editor
With the wind we had here Monday, gusting to peaks of 67 m.p.h., no one has to be told that the severe weather season has arrived here in the midwest.
Nebraska observed Severe Weather Awareness Week last week, a time when all of us are reminded to brush up on the correct precautions to take in the event of a tornado or other severe weather. A mock tornado drill was held last Wednesday, and hopefully, we all recognized the difference between that siren and the more-oft-heard fire whistle.
As we listened last Wednesday, we could hear how the tornado/severe weather siren takes an upward tone and stays high at that tone for the length of the warning. In contrast, the fire whistle maintains an up-and-down tone.
The Imperial area, luckily, survived a 2013 severe weather season with not too much happening. That doesn’t mean 2014 will be the same.
The peak time for tornadoes has been in the 3 to 7 p.m. time slot, but they can occur at any time, as we all know.
I remember many years back when the winds woke us in the middle of the night, and after looking outside, we saw the swirling clouds despite the darkness. After waking up our children, we huddled in the basement in our predetermined shelter under the stairs as the storm passed, leaving a lot of rural damage in its path.
Since many of us may be at work during the day during severe weather, it’s vital that we become familiar with other available public shelters if our workplace does not have adequate protection. Places such as the library, courthouse and school will provide such shelter. If your home does not have a basement or other severe weather shelter, talk to your neighbors to see if they will open their homes to you and your family during severe weather.
We can feel safe about our children during the school day if a tornado is near because Chase County Schools regularly practices tornado drills, and did so last Wednesday during the mock exercise.
Severe Weather Awareness Week is an annual observance, but we should not take it in stride. Get familiar with the signs of severe weather, and pay attention to local warnings. Good information is also available at www. weather.gov. Click on the “weather safety” link.