I recently wrote a letter to the editor concerning tornado warnings, provided by sirens, and soon after comes the time for a week-long severe weather preparedness drill and training.
Columbia County Emergency Services Director Pam Tucker's guest column in the Feb. 18 News-Times asks, "What will happen this year, in the event we have severe weather?" Her answer: "Be ready in case the worst does happen."
Tucker also states that it takes "very little effort, and if we re not prepared, a tornado warning will do little good." My question is how many Columbia County citizens actually participated in the Feb. 21 drill, and how many of our citizens are truly prepared for a tornado? The most important question is, how many of our citizens will hear or see a tornado warning that comes in the middle of the night?
Tucker says Columbia County does not need a siren warning system. At this point, I refer to the tornado that recently hit Lake county Fla., in the night, killing 20 people. A portion of Fox News reported: Tornado watches had been posted hours before the twister struck, and warnings were issued between eight and 15 minutes before they touched down, said meteorologist Dave Sharp of the National Weather Service in Melbourne, Florida.
But few people were listening to the radio or watching television at that hour, and few communities in the region have warning sirens. "The most dangerous tornado scenario is a threat for killer tornadoes at night, and that was the case," Sharp said.
It's good to be trained up to be prepared, but all the training in the world will not help if a tornado occurs in the night, and most of the citizens never know it's coming. Ask anyone who has ever been the victim of a tornado if they were prepared for it. The best preparation is an early warning siren, and a storm shelter. How many in Columbia County have those?
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