Weather warnings not taken seriously

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, February 26, 2003

The timing of a severe weather meeting in Marengo County couldn’t have come at a better time.

Just 10 days ago, an F-1 tornado touched down near Providence, and little, if any, warning was given before the twister hit.

Tuesday night, WAKA meteorologists Chris Bailey and Nicondra Norwood held a severe weather town hall meeting in Demopolis to talk about warning signs and how to protect against tornadoes that touch down in a moment’s notice.

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Such was the case on Saturday, Feb. 15, when the first tornado to touch down in Alabama in 2003 grazed across Highway 43 near Providence. A severe thunderstorm warning and tornado watch had been issued for Marengo County, and according to Bailey, this county was on the "tail end" of the warnings.

A tornado watch, especially in Alabama where those watches are quite normal, carries little weight with TV viewers. The same could be said for severe thunderstorm warnings.

What many people may not know is that severe thunderstorms don’t just mean hard rain and lightning.

While Demopolis residents learned plenty from the severe weather meeting, Bailey said all people should realize that the peak for severe weather is about to hit.

Severe weather happens when warm and cold fronts collide, and in this region of the nation, that will happen often during the spring months.

While Bailey expected to spend most of his time fielding questions about tornadoes, he also said town meetings like the one Tuesday provide some interesting questions.

Along with Bailey and Norwood, Pete McGough, a representative from the state Emergency Management Agency, was on hand Tuesday with a machine that simulates a tornado.