As spring approaches, so does the threat of severe weather.
Emergency officials are urging residents to be prepared.
Today through Saturday, state and local agencies will participate in Severe Weather Awareness Week 2007, which focuses on the dangers of all types of severe weather. Severe weather includes such events as tornadoes, thunderstorms, tropical storms, hurricanes, lightning, flooding, flash floods, extreme heat and extreme cold, said Pam Tucker, Columbia County's director of emergency services.
"We have had every single one of those," Tucker said after researching the area's weather history through area media outlets and the National Weather Service. "Anything in nature is possible."
Tucker said it is important for families to prepare for severe weather by implementing a family disaster plan.
The plan should include designating a room of the house for shelter, an emergency kit with a three-day supply of water and food, an evacuation plan and meeting areas, a list of out-of-town contacts, and necessary equipment, which includes a NOAA Alert weather radio.
"Then practice and maintain your plan," Tucker said. "Smart thinking and quick action, and that's what saves your life. You might not can prevent something falling on your house or your house even getting severe damage, but the whole bottom line is coming out of it unhurt."
Each day of the week will focus on a particular type of severe weather, and schools and government agencies will participate in Wednesday's statewide tornado drill. Businesses and residents are invited to participate in the drill, which will be broadcast on local media outlets and through NOAA radio.
The peak months for thunderstorms and tornadoes in the Southeast are March, April and May, said Kim Campbell, the meteorologist in charge of the National Weather Service in West Columbia, S.C.
Severe weather is not limited to the spring.
"We can have severe weather and tornadoes any month of the year," Campbell said.
A microburst associated with a thunderstorm damaged some Evans neighborhoods in late June. The storm included hail, rain and high winds, which downed trees and power lines, and sent many residents running for their safe rooms.
Though severe weather is difficult to predict, no record weather seasons are expected, Campbell said. But preparation for any storm or severe weather is a must.
"The thing you have to remember is that even one tornado or one hurricane, if it hits you, it is going to be bad," Campbell said. "People like to look at things in quantities, but all it takes is one to do damage or possibly hurt somebody, so you always have to be prepared whether it is one or 20."
The Columbia County News-Times ©2013. All Rights Reserved.