Spring is a time of transition, when late-season snowstorms can impact travel and afternoon thunderstorms bring the threat of hail, tornadoes, and lightning. The National Weather Service is asking Wyoming residents to use Wyoming Severe Weather Awareness Week, April 20 through 24, to plan and prepare for the varied weather that strikes the state.

“Everyone seems to have several ways in which they receive warnings. Smartphone apps, wireless emergency alerts, NOAA Weather Radio, the emergency alert system broadcasts over TV and radio, just to name a few. Having several ways in which you receive warnings increases the likelihood that you take action,” said Chris Jones, warning coordination meteorologist at the Riverton NWS office. “Our focus this week is on increasing preparedness and taking action to keep you and your family safe when hazardous weather threatens.”

Chad Hahn, warning coordination meteorologist at the Cheyenne NWS office, added that severe weather is more than just tornadoes, wind, and hail. “Certainly, people should practice a family tornado drill once each year and they should always take shelter indoors when thunderstorms approach,” said Hahn. He added, “Flash floods and wildfires are also dangerous, and people need to be ready to take action when they threaten.”

The NWS advises that people understand which weather hazards are most likely to affect them and then put together an emergency plan. Knowing ahead of time where you plan to shelter saves valuable time when hazardous weather strikes. Jones and Hahn both agree that sharing your preparedness activities with others is critical in building a weather-ready nation.

A test Tornado Warning will be issued by the NWS for the entire state on Wednesday, April 22, at 1030 am to ensure statewide emergency communications and alerting capabilities are ready for the thunderstorm season. Broadcasters and public safety alerting points across Wyoming will be participating in the test. Schools, health care and continuing-care facilities, and other large venues are encouraged to use the drill to test internal emergency procedures.

For more information about severe weather safety and preparedness, visit the NWS website at: http://www.weather.gov/riw/severe_weather_awareness_week_main