Severe Weather throughout the South & Midwest

Posted by: Lars Anderson, Director, Public Affairs

As the risk for severe weather conditions continue throughout parts of the Midwest and South, we wanted to take a second to remind everyone in areas expected to see severe weather to take necessary precautions now. We encourage all individuals in areas where severe weather is expected to listen to NOAA Weather Radio, especially as we head into the evening and overnight, and local news for severe weather updates and warnings and to always follow the direction provided by their local officials.

Here are a few severe weather terms you should familiarize yourself with now:

  • Severe Thunderstorm Watch – Tells you when and where severe thunderstorms are likely to occur. Watch the sky and stay tuned to NOAA Weather Radio, commercial radio or television for information.
  • Severe Thunderstorm Warning – Issued when severe weather has been reported by spotters or indicated by radar. Warnings indicate imminent danger to life and property to those in the path of the storm. 
  • Tornado Watch – Tornadoes are possible. Remain alert for approaching storms. Watch the sky and stay tuned to NOAA Weather Radio, commercial radio or television for information. 
  • Tornado Warning – A tornado has been sighted or indicated by weather radar. Take shelter immediately. 

As weather conditions often change quickly, it’s important to stay updated on your local forecast conditions at (or on your mobile device).

If severe weather is expected in your area, keep in mind these safety tips:

  • Continue to monitor your battery-powered radio or television for emergency information. 
  • Do not touch downed power lines or objects in contact with downed lines. Report downed power lines and electrical hazards to the police and the utility company. 
  • Injury may result from the direct impact of a tornado or it may occur afterward when people walk among debris and enter damaged buildings. Wear sturdy shoes or boots, long sleeves and gloves when handling or walking on or near debris. 
  • After a tornado, be aware of possible structural, electrical or gas-leak hazards in your home. Contact your local city or county building inspectors for information on structural safety codes and standards. They may also offer suggestions on finding a qualified contractor to do work for you.

Visit  for more tips on what to do if severe weather is expected in your area. You can also visit for safety tips on your mobile device.

In the News: From Survivor to Survivor – Managing the stress after a disaster

(The views expressed in the CNN story do not necessarily represent the official views of the United States, the Department of Homeland Security, or the Federal Emergency Management Agency. FEMA does not endorse any non-government organizations, entities, or services.)

With the great amount of devastation Sandy has brought upon states along the East Coast, I wanted to take a moment to share an article on from Hurricane Katrina and Joplin survivors who felt the way many disaster survivors may feel at this point in time. Three days after Sandy’s landfall, millions of people remain without power and their homes and lives as they knew it, have completely changed.

Here’s an excerpt from storm survivors sharing their experiences and giving advice on how to move forward after experiencing a disaster:

Devastation is devastation, whether a hurricane rips up your home or a tornado takes the person you love most in the world. It’s loss, shock and confusion. It’s anger and sadness and resentment. It’s being flustered like you’ve never been flustered before.

But it’s going to be OK: Take it from the people who survived Hurricane Katrina and the Missourians from Joplin whose town was leveled by the worst tornado in U.S. history.

They want Sandy survivors to know a few things:

You’re probably on autopilot right now. You’re moving through it. Stand in the ruins of the life you had before the disaster. Understand that was before. The after is when you’re good and ready.

Hours will still go by though. Days will happen. You might not remember to eat because you’re filling out paperwork and talking to insurance operators. You will get put on hold.

Your life will feel forever on hold.

At some point, when you think you’re handling it, you will stumble on something that reminds you of that old life, maybe it’s a thing or it’s a memory. Maybe this will happen when you finally get the sleep you’ve gone without since the disaster. You’re going to feel really, really awful again for awhile.

Eileen Romero, Hurricane Katrina Survivor, “Understand that the life you had before something like this isn’t coming back, and that’s not always a bad thing. Discover and make yourself anew.”

Read the rest of the story from CNN.

As we continue to deal with the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy, we remain committed to bringing the resources of the federal family together to support disaster survivors. We are and will continue to work side by side in close coordination with state, local and tribal emergency management officials, voluntary and faith-based communities, and private sector to support response and recovery efforts in affected states.