Tornadoes are the most violent of nature’s storms. Most tornadoes have winds under 110 mph but they are capable of producing winds up to 300 mph. The damage paths of tornadoes can be up to a mile wide and 50 miles long. Tornado season is March through August but a tornado can occur any time of year. Advance preparation is vital to survival. Stay alert and seek information about incoming storms through use of a NOAA Weather Radio or local news channel. However, it is not uncommon for a tornado to occur quickly, leaving little or no time for public warning.

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Wildfires are uncontrolled fires that occur in country side areas. A wildfire differs from other fires by its extensive size, the speed at which it can spread out from its original source, its potential to change direction unexpectedly, and its ability to jump gaps such as roads and rivers. Weather conditions such as drought can directly contribute to the occurrence and ability to spread. Wildfires are started through natural means such as lightning or manmade combustions such as arson, carelessness, or disregard for fire safety measures. Stay tuned in to alerts on television, radio or other media and heed emergency instructions and evacuation warnings from authorities.

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A flood occurs when there is an overabundance of water in an area of land that is normally dry. Floods come from a variety of sources such as heavy rainfall which overflow lakes and rivers. Flash flooding occurs when there is heavy rainfall or a large amount of snowmelt in a short period of time. According to FEMA, flash floods are the #1 cause of weather related deaths in America. This is due to the often underestimated force flood waters. Just two feet of water is enough to carry away a large SUV. It is never safe to walk or drive through flood waters. In an effort to urge citizens not to attempt to navigate through flood waters, The National Weather Service started its “Turn Around Don’t Drown” public service campaign in 2004.

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Winter Storms

Winter storms range in severity and are characterized by large amounts of snowfall, ice, strong winds, sleet, freezing rain, and extreme cold. The National Weather Service characterizes these storms as “Deceptive Killers” because most of the deaths that occur can indirectly be attributed to the storm. Traffic accidents on slick roads, hypothermia from prolonged exposure to extreme cold, and overexertion performing physically intense tasks like snow removal are common causes of death after a winter storm. Preparing before the onset of a storm and staying up-to-date on weather conditions during inclement weather are necessary precautions every citizen should take.

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Earthquakes are sudden shaking or rolling that can be felt on the earth’s surface. They can occur anywhere, any time of day and cannot be predicted. Oklahoma has experienced an increase in earthquakes magnitude 3.0 or greater since 2012.