By Joy Hampton
The Norman Transcript
NORMAN — Severe weather, including possible tornadoes could usher in the work week Monday afternoon, according to Warning Coordination Meteorologist Rick Smith of the National Weather Service.
Chances for a storm on Sunday are slim and predicted activity is primarily limited to northern Oklahoma, Smith said in a release to area emergency responders.
Monday has the “highest potential for significant severe weather,” Smith said.
The highest tornado threat will be late Monday afternoon or evening.
Smith said indications show that Tuesday is the “best chance for widespread storms and heavy rain.” If enough storms crop up, that will limit the development of supercells and tornado potential.
“A lot can still change, as the storm system is still out over the Pacific, and we haven’t even had a chance to sample it with weather instruments yet,” Smith said.
It’s important to stay tuned to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration weather radio for updates. NOAA Weather Radio is a nationwide network of radio stations broadcasting continuous weather information directly from the nearest National Weather Service office.
NWR broadcasts official Weather Service warnings, watches, forecasts and other hazard information 24 hours a day, seven days a week.
Weather radios can be purchased at most electronic and department stores.
Radios that are battery operated or have a battery backup are best in case of power outages.
Families and individuals should make a plan on where to take shelter in case a tornado hits.
“It’s best to shelter in the center of the house at the lowest level in a room that doesn’t have windows,” said Norman Assistant Fire Chief Jim Bailey.
Often, the time between a warning and a tornado hitting can be brief, making it dangerous to travel to a public shelter.
The city does sound sirens, but residents should watch the weather, listen to the weather radio and stay informed. Tornado sirens may not be heard if you are inside a home or a building.
“They’re not designed to be heard inside,” Bailey said. “They’re designed to warn people who are outside mowing the yard or playing athletic events.”
Sirens sound for three minutes to issue a tornado warning.
“If you hear the siren go off, it means to seek shelter and stay tuned to additional information,” Bailey said. “When the sirens go off, it does not mean there is an all clear.”
Simple precautions make a difference, like wearing shoes to avoid being hurt by broken glass or weather, a bicycle helmet to protect your head if you do not have a storm shelter.
As always, avoid approaching downed power lines.
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