Severe Weather Season is Here

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Matt Mueller
Guthrie City Manager

It is that time of year again when I can count on at least some interruption of my favorite TV shows due to severe weather coverage.  Guthrie is no stranger to significant weather related events.  In the past two and a half years, the community has seen several major snow storms, a flood, a drought, the hottest summer on record, tornados and even earthquakes.  The tornados that occurred last May were a stark reminder that life threatening weather events can occur in the blink of an eye and they can bring with them catastrophic and deadly results.  Since it is just the beginning of tornado season, and considering that Guthrie has already experienced a near miss, it seems appropriate to present some weather related information.

Guthrie, like most communities, does not have a public storm shelter so it is important for residents to have a household plan to keep them safe in the event of a tornado.  One of the key elements of safety is notification.  When the last tornado threat was in the area, many citizens may have noticed that the sirens were sounded.  The sirens are sounded whenever a tornado warning is issued by the National Weather Service or a local official sees a tornado on the ground in the area.  To ensure that the sirens are reliable, each one is equipped with a battery backup and they are tested on a regular basis. 

After the sirens went off last time, the City received several calls from residents stating that they could barely hear the sirens in their home and that they were not loud enough to wake them from their sleep.  These sirens are actually outdoor warning devices with the purpose of alerting people who are outdoors to seek cover.  Many people are able to hear the sirens in their home, but this is not what they are designed for, and they certainly should not be relied upon to alert someone when they are asleep.  In order to receive notification in the event of a tornado, it is highly recommended that all households purchase a weather radio and/or sign up for the ‘Weather Warning’ option through the City of Guthrie’s CodeRed system. 

The City of Guthrie utilizes a system called CodeRed, which is an emergency notification system.  Residents can sign up through this program to receive calls when severe weather warnings are issued in the vicinity of their address.  When you sign up for these notifications, you can choose to be notified in the event of thunderstorm, flood, or tornado warnings.  You can select any combination of the three, so you can choose only the notifications you want.   To sign up for this service, go to www.cityofguthrie.com and click on the CodeRed icon.  CodeRed has also developed a mobile alert app that will allow users to receive notifications of warnings no matter where they are in the country. 

Another issue that is very important is to make sure that our residents are safe in the aftermath of a disaster.   In order to make sure you and your loved ones can be located in the event of a disaster, Guthrie residents can register safe rooms or storm shelters with the Guthrie Fire Department.   You can click at the following link to access the registration form http://okguthrie.civicplus.com/DocumentView.aspx?DID=557.  Resgistering your storm shelter or safe room will ensure that our search and rescue crews can find residents even if the shelter is covered with debris. 

Let’s hope we don’t have any significant weather related events to deal with in the near future.  However, when it comes to this subject, it is a good idea to hope for the best, but plan for the worst.  Having a good plan in place and receiving proper notification can have a great impact on our residents’ safety when it comes to severe weather.

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