Severe Weather Awareness Week 2022

Local News Stories

ZANESVILLE, Ohio – Springtime signals warming temperatures, budding trees, blooming flowers and the threat of severe weather. The state of Ohio recognizes this week as Severe Weather Awareness Week and local emergency response agencies are coordinating a tornado siren test at 9:50 a.m. Wednesday. 

Muskingum County Emergency Management Agency Director Jeff Jadwin discussed the countywide tornado alert system and how people can prepare for when severe weather arrives.

“We currently have 47 sirens plus one portable siren that we maintain. We have another siren that is owned by AEP, at the Dresden power plant. They own it, they maintain it but they allow us to activate it when there is a tornado warning or tornado sighting in the county. So that gives us 49,” Jadwin said.

Some communities use their siren to alert their first responders to a fire with a high and low pitched tone as compared to a tornado alert, which maintains a constant pitched tone. 

Severe weather can take the form of downbursts, derechos and tornadoes that can happen anywhere, day or night.  

“We started out on March 26th last year with damage around the entire county from a wind event. June 14th and June 30th we had downburst events where there was tree damage, property damage from the downburst winds. Then on October 21st last year, during the night, we had a tornado hit the Chandlersville area and travel over to New Concord into Guernsey County,” Jadwin said.

Tornadoes are storms that contain high speed rotating winds. Derechos are storms with high winds that cover a wide swath of area. And downbursts are localized gusts of high speed, straight-line winds that are normally localized to a small area.

People can prepare for severe weather by having a to-go bag packed with clothes, food, water, medicines, portable radio, and cell phone charger, along with cash to purchase essentials in case the ATM’s are inoperable. 

In addition to the sirens, the county provides other ways to receive severe weather alerts.

“The other thing is to be signed up for our reverse 911 system. You can do that by going to our website and clicking on the banner,” Jadwin said.

Another system the county utilizes is from the Federal Emergency Management Agency.

“We do have what’s called IPAWS, which is a national program that will alert people that are traveling in the area, when there’s a tornado or severe weather in the area,” Jadwin said. “It’s kind of like when you get your alerts that a child has been abducted or a senior is missing. It’s the same system.”