KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (WATE) — TEMA and the National Weather Service have teamed up to hold Severe Weather Awareness Week, which started Sunday, Feb. 19.
There will be a statewide tornado drill on Wednesday, Feb. 22, at 10:30 a.m. in participating communities. Maggie Hannan with TEMA said not to be alarmed if you hear tornado sirens.
“That also includes a test of the NOAA weather radios, so you may hear the EAS sound. This is a test of the network, it’s just a way to encourage folks to be prepared and to review their tornado plan ahead of severe weather,” Hannan said.
WATE Chief Meteorologist Ken Weathers said East Tennessee is more likely to see severe weather from March to May.
“Those are when you’re starting to see the biggest changes in your air masses. In spring, we’re going from winter to summer, it’s that transition period. Like I said, you have that cooler, drier air that meets with the warmer, more humid air. That sets up the stage for that more severe weather threat,” Weathers said.
In East Tennessee, the straight-line wind is the most common cause of weather damage.
“Damaging wind gust is definitely our most common threat we have here in East Tennessee. Usually, we get a squall line, which is just a line of thunderstorms that moves through the area, but sometimes what we see is along that line is you can get little spin-ups or brief tornadoes that do form, so they can do just as much damage,” Weathers said.
TEMA is also encouraging people to prepare an emergency kit that can be used in case of severe weather or any other disaster.
“Some things that we may include in our emergency preparedness kit are food, water, batteries, or a phone charger. There are a lot of great ideas on our website, as well as ready.gov/kit,” Hannan said.
TEMA will be featuring a different preparedness topic each day.