CITY OF CHADRON POLICE DEPARTMENT   125 Main St., Chadron, NE 69337                                                            
Press Release
May 5, 2020
Contact Person: Gale Kittell, 911 Supervisor, 308-432-0510
The week of March 23-27, was designated as Severe Weather Awareness Week in Nebraska, but no organized activities went forward due to the Covid-19 situation. Now the severe weather season is apon us in full swing. Tornados have been reported in almost every month of the year in Nebraska, but the months of May and June have far and away the biggest majority of these events. Last year, of the 35 tornados that occurred in Nebraska, 24 of these occurred in the month of May.  Statistically, June is the top month for Tornados, averaging just over 18 tornados for the month. Last year Dawes County Dispatch activated tornado warning sirens twice, both times for the town of Crawford. One confirmed tornado was spotted NW of Harrison July 18th, and also laid a swath of hail across both Sioux and Dawes counties.It is very important that everyone develop a plan and know what to do in the event of a tornado warning before it actually happens!  
The Dawes County Emergency Dispatch will be conducting a Tornado drill Wednesday May 13th. The drill will begin with a Tornado Watch we will simulate in our Dispatch Center.  A Tornado Warning will then be simulated at 9:30 AM and the Chadron 911 Center will activate warning sirens in the communities of Chadron, Crawford and Harrison. The sirens will sound a three (3) minute steady tone. A code Red Test Warning will also be sent to area telephones. 
Businesses and residents are encouraged to participate in the drill. Businesses are encouraged to mark an interior room or basement as the designated tornado shelter. Place signs in an easily visible place for patrons to shelter should there be a tornado warning. People at home are encouraged to take that brief time to go to your determined shelter location in your home. Be informed, be prepared and know what to do during severe weather.  Do not wait until severe weather actually occurs, plan ahead.  Having a plan and knowing what to do ahead of time may save your life!  
Safety reminders for severe weather:

  •    Please DO NOT CALL 911 to ask why the sirens are sounding. If you have a phone (almost everyone does) please sign up for Code Red. Chadron, Crawford and Harrison, as well as both Dawes and Sioux Counties use code Red for all public notifications. Your phone does not need to be a cell phone, land lines will work too. It is not just for Tornado Warnings but will also notify you of Severe Thunderstorm Warnings and Flood Warnings the instant they are put out by the NWS.

Code Red is a free service; to sign up, go to the City of Chadron website at, http://www.chadron-nebraska.com . At the bottom of the home page is a quick-link that will take you to the Code Red website. Complete the registration there and register all your phone numbers, up to 4 per account. You can also register your email address and have text messages sent too. Hearing impaired people can register to get messages on a TTY device. In the event you do not have web access, contact the Chadron 911 Center during business hours and a person can assist you with signing up. 
Smartphone users can download any of numerous free weather apps for both Android and iPhone to give you every type of weather notification available, and it will use your current location to warn you of hazardous weather wherever you are.

  •   Another way of receiving severe weather alerts is to have a NOAA All Hazards radio on hand.  These radios sound an alert when a warning is issued for the area. There is a full time narrative of the current weather and warnings, as well as discussion of the forecast. These are useful for the latest weather, rain or shine. 

  •    Know the sound of the siren that is used to warn the public of a tornado warning. Remember warning sirens are designed to notify people of an emergency call, of severe weather, or a disaster. Here is a description of the emergency warning signals:

      • 15-45 second two-tone or “hi-lo” is a Rescue Call
      • 15-45 second rising and falling sound is a Fire Call
      • 3 minute continuous steady sound is a Tornado
      • 3 minute rising and falling sound is a Disaster

The sirens may not always be heard by people who are inside a home or other building. Instead, rely on Code Red, local radio stations and an NOAA All Hazards radio.  

  •    During a Tornado Warning seek shelter in a basement.  If no basement is available seek shelter in the lowest floor possible in an interior room or closet away from outside doors and windows. Do not stay in mobile homes or camper trailers.  Abandon them immediately and seek shelter in a home or building with a basement. If you are caught outside and unable to seek shelter in a basement or building find a ditch or ravine, crouch or lie down with your head facing down and cover your head with your arms.  Be aware of heavy rain and possible flooding. Be prepared and don’t wait until the last minute.  Have a plan and know what to do before severe weather strikes.  Make sure everyone in your family knows what to do.

  Visit https://www.weather.gov/media/lbf/SWAW2020.pdf for 2020 National Weather Service Severe Weather Awareness Information.

Author: 
Mr. Mack