Shawnee Co. residents receive crash course in severe weather preparedness

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TOPEKA, Kan. (WIBW)-- Shawnee County residents received a lesson on preparing for severe weather Wednesday night.

The Storm Spotter event was put together through the National Weather Service in Topeka and was held inside Washburn University’s Student Union. Shawnee Co. Emergency Management sponsored the session.

WIBW Meteorologists Ian Cassette and Doug Meyers were on hand at the annual Spotter Talk event which aims to teach community members severe weather safety tips and other awareness techniques.

The National Weather Service works closely with emergency managers and local media to get the word out about severe weather.

"Tornadoes are a fact of life we know that, every year we're going to have tornadoes and it's just good to be prepared. Having a plan specifically looks at where you're going to go and where you're going to be in the event a tornado warning is issued," Chad Omitt, National Weather Service.

In addition to NWS personnel, the Topeka event also included information from city and county emergency management, the Shawnee Co. Sheriff's Office, Shawnee Co. Community Emergency Response Team, Volunteers in Police Service and the Shawnee Co. Medical Reserve Corps.

Efforts to raise awareness about weather preparedness in the Capital City has been going on for sixty years. Weather statistics show that tornadoes and flash floods are the number one and two killers during severe weather season.

Besides weather information, attendees also heard a presentation from Shawnee Co. Emergency Management and Sheriff's personnel on crime and terrorism awareness. The talk outlined the "if you see something, say something" campaign, detailing what the "something" could be, from suspicious people or items, to unusual circumstances.