Severe Weather Awareness Week

If you are not prepared for a tornado, you could be putting you and your family at risk. In fact one local organization says less than 10 percent of residents in the Panhandle are ready for severe weather.  Some of those who survived tornados that hit our area last year say they weren't prepared, but that all changed after it happened to them.

Tulia mayor Pat George says, " I think just the disaster itself and the loss of and dealing with coming together and removing the debris and everything really brought the community together as a whole."

Tulia was ripped apart from a tornado last year. It was just one of the record nearly 60 that touched down in the Oklahoma and Texas Panhandles. One reason why officials have designated this week Severe Weather Awareness Week.

Bill Marten lost his business in a tornado. He says, "your heart just sinks to all the business and the community that was there because you don't know what is hit and what is not hit."

Members of the community say they are more prepared now after seeing the damage of this storm.

But the Panhandle chapter of the American Red Cross says there are still people in our area who don't think it will happen to them and aren't ready when it does.

Vicky Richmond says, "people do go to the grocery store and buy up a bunch of food. But after that they kinda sit around and wait for it to happen and they think it is going to be someone else. And they are regretful when they aren't prepared."

Being prepared means getting together staple items like food, water, a weather radio, and flashlights.

Richmond says, "it is very possible that you will be stuck in your home, or your car, or a friends house for a length of time. First responders are going to get out as soon as they can, but that is not always possible so be prepared in your home, be prepared in your car, be prepared to take a kit with you, just depending if you have to flee or not."

Richmond says it's important to customize a kit for your needs. And plan a meeting place for you and your family if you get separated so everyone knows where to go.