Texas State Emergency Management Recommends to Stay ‘Weather Aware’
CNS News released a report of 333 deaths due to severe weather in the U.S. in 2014. A combination of heavy rain, flash floods and lightning have also proven to be deadly in the U.S., as well as in Texas. Lightning is produced when water and ice particles rub against each other inside a storm cloud and charge the cloud’s particles. The charges then become separated as some become negative charges and others become positive. As the particles create a significant combination charge, the separate charges seek to neutralize each other and as they pull away from each other they create a pathway. The charges eventually release and create a lightning strike that is 20,000 degree celsius hot which travels at 300 million meters per second.
According to weather.com, an average of 25 million cloud-to-ground lightning strikes hit in the U.S. per year. The National Weather Service reports that lightning kills an average of 49 people per year and they released a lightning safety report which revealed that Texas had the second most lightning fatalities from 2005 to 2014 with 20 deaths.
San Marcos had two historic floods in 2015 as well as tornado warnings and severe thunderstorms. Texas State Emergency Management Coordinator Jake Palmer says that the frequency of the severe weather has been unpredictable.
“The weather in this area, in Central Texas is pretty dynamic,” Palmer said. “Last year, we had the two supposedly hundred-year flood events and we had two in the same year. The weather is the weather it’s gonna do what it’s gonna do and it’s not something you can say, you know, we’re averaging this or something like that. We get them pretty often.”
Palmer says that the Emergency Management office coordinates with the University Police Department and Texas State Student affairs to keep the community safe. When the Emergency Management office receives notification of severe weather, they begin by informing their own department. After that, they begin meeting with UPD and Student Affairs to determine whether to delay campus operations such as class or athletic events that will take place outside. Palmer says that the office will immediately notify the community of any weather updates and recommends that everybody should stay notified and follow safety procedures during severe weather watches.
“Make sure they’re ‘weather aware’,” Palmer said. “Make sure they’re keeping track of what the storms are doing, what the service is, the most important thing is to be aware of that stuff. National Weather Service does a great deal of stuff with tweeting out and putting their Facebook information out on what’s predicted to happen. Here at Texas State, we have [an] emergency management page [where] we have current weather notices and things like that, and we have an active link to the National Weather Service’s radar, so you can check that location as well. So it’s really just having that information at hand and being aware of what’s going on.”
Palmer also suggested to know the difference between a weather warning, a weather watch and a weather advisory as severe weather continues to be fatal in the U.S. and Central Texas area.
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