Get prepared for severe weather season

Next week Borger residents will experience 80 degree temperatures outdoors, meaning spring is officially here. However, this also means it is the time of the year for tornadoes and possibly floods.Hutchinson County Fire Marshal Danny Richards said tornadoes and severe weather usually begin late March and end around July 4. Several situations the Panhandle sees are hail, flooding, high winds, lightning, and tornadoes, which are by far the most dangerous. Around 1992 Fritch was hit by a F5 Tornado, completely destroying 525 homes and severely damaging 900. Luckily, no one was killed.Richards says if a Toronto does occur, citizens should stay alert. There are many ways to do so:Hutchinson County offers a local TV station on channel 11.There are links on the City of Borger and Hutchinson County web sites that will give you the ability to watch Channel 11 on your computer.NOAA alert radios also come in handy. NOAA serves the Hutchinson County on channel 162.400. When there is a severe storm in the middle of the night, the NOAA alert radio will set off a alarm telling you to be aware.Richards said the Hutchinson County area also has a group of trained weather spotters who watch for tornadoes and operate a state-of-the-art doppler radar, especially during the night.Richards continued to state, “If a tornado warning is issued for your area go to the basement or lowest level of your home and take shelter in an inner hallway or small inner room without windows, such as a closet or bathroom. “In mobile homes and other portable structures, evacuate the structure even if it is equipped with tie-downs. Take shelter in a building with a strong foundation. If such a building isn’t available, take cover in a ditch or low-lying area a safe distance from the mobile home. “Lie face down and cover your head and neck with your hands. Once the tornado passes get up because you could drown in the following rain storm. “If you are in a vehicle seek shelter immediately. Do not continue to drive and do not try to outrun a tornado. Tornadoes can change direction quickly and can easily lift a vehicle into the air. Get out of the vehicle and take shelter in a nearby building or lie in a ditch or low-lying area away from the vehicle and do not take shelter under a underpass. “Spring is a wonderful time of the year to get out in the sun and enjoy the heat, but people must stay alert and watch for severe weather,” said Richards.