Tornado siren sounds for Severe Weather Awareness week

Janel Hlebak and Janel Hlebak

With the weather slowly changing from winter to spring, the wind patterns are changing as well.

On Wednesday at 9:50 a.m., 13 sirens will be going off around Bowling Green and more throughout Wood County, alerting residents of what a tornado drill sounds like and encouraging them to take part in a drill.

Bowling Green Municipal Administrator John Fawcett said spring is the perfect time for the State of Ohio’s Severe Weather Awareness Week.

“It’s going to start getting warm out, meaning that the wind stream will begin to change and cause potential for severe weather,” he said. “People need to be aware of what to do in these situations.”

Fawcett also had some insight about what students and residents should do to practice the drill Wednesday as well as stay safe during severe weather in the future.

“The sirens are designed to alert people out and about to find shelter,” he said. “Bowling Green, like many others cities, doesn’t have a shelter specifically for this purpose, so people should try to find somewhere without glass, windows, or doors that lead outside.”

While the sirens scheduled for Wednesday are only a drill, Vince Davis, the University Fire Safety and Emergency Management coordinator thinks students should still take precautions seriously during this time.

“When students hear the sirens, they’ll most likely just follow what everyone else around them is doing,” Davis said. “Tornado instructions are located in each building on campus, so checking those and avoiding hazardous areas would be a good idea.”

Although it is windy, Bowling Green is typically not prone to severe weather emergencies.

“Statistically, Ohio has about 30 tornadoes a year,” Davis said. “We have a pretty good pattern here though, the closest [tornado] to campus in years was about a mile away last year.”

Bradley Gilbert, with the Wood County Emergency Management Agency, stressed the importance of becoming aware of the dangers of severe weather and what students and residents can do to stay safe during these times.

“Pre-planning for severe storms is critical because there is generally very little advanced notice of these types of severe weather storms,” Gilbert said. “Severe storms can rapidly form and approach with little to no advanced warning, so it is important for the public to educate themselves.”

To find out more information on the State of Ohio’s Severe Weather Awareness Week or how to stay safe during severe weather and tornadoes, visit www.ready.gov.