Emergency Management News

Wednesday, December 30, 2015

Is your home ready for Winter? #AltusOK #OKice

A Winter Ready Home

snow covered home
You might wear gloves and a hat to protect yourself from cold temperatures outside, but did you know that your home needs protection, too?
With the proper maintenance, you can prepare your home for the winter season and reduce heat loss during a power outage.

Follow these tips from America’s PrepareAthon!, including:
  • Hire a contractor to check the structural ability of your roof to sustain unusually heavy weight from the accumulation of snow or ice;
  • Insulate pipes with insulation or newspaper and plastic;
  • Allow faucets to drip during cold weather to avoid freezing; and
  • Have a professional inspect your chimney or heating equipment.
For added warmth, you may choose to use indoor space heaters. If you purchase a space heater, look for one that has an automatic shut-off or tip-over switch. Place the heater on a level surface away from high-traffic areas and flammable items such as curtains, bedding, or furniture. Make sure the room has enough ventilation to help prevent carbon monoxide poisoning.

Wednesday, December 23, 2015

News for you to #FightTheFlu

The flu is a contagious respiratory illness caused by influenza viruses that infect the nose, throat, and lungs. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), winter is the typical season for influenza activity, but outbreaks can happen as early as October. Flu symptoms can include: a sore throat, a runny or stuffy nose, muscle or body aches, and fatigue.
Fever is another symptom of the flu, but the CDC notes that not everyone with the flu will have a fever.
While anyone can get the flu, some people are at high risk of developing serious flu-related complications. People who are at high risk include young children, pregnant women, people age 65 years and older, and people with chronic medical conditions (such as asthma, diabetes or heart disease).
The CDC recommends the flu vaccine as the best way to prevent this illness. There are several vaccine options, including the flu shot and nasal spray. If you are sick with the flu, avoid spreading it by:
  • Covering your mouth with your elbow when you cough or sneeze;
  • Washing your hands often with soap and warm water; and
  • Staying home.
For more information about the upcoming flu season and how to avoid spreading this illness, take a look at this CDC resource guide.

Wednesday, December 16, 2015

What are the effects of Winter Weather?

Learn the Signs of Hypothermia

Picture of snowy landscape
Winter is just around the corner, and it’s time to think about cold weather safety; specifically hypothermia. Hypothermia is a dangerous drop in body temperature, usually caused by prolonged exposure to cold temperatures.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), hypothermia is particularly dangerous because a person may not know it’s happening. Some signs of hypothermia include shivering, exhaustion, and slurred speech.

The CDC offers tips for helping someone who may be experiencing hypothermia, including:
  • Get the victim into a warm room or shelter;
  • If the victim has on any wet clothing, remove it;
  • Warm the center of the body first using an electric blanket, if available; and
  • Get medical attention as soon as possible.

Friday, December 11, 2015

Altus Update Weekend edition #AltusOK #OKfire

While not in the Red Flag Fire Weather range, our friends at the National Weather Service Office in Norman pushed this graphic out yesterday:

 Surely, you saw the Tweet ... https://twitter.com/wx5em/status/674951784146825218... and that elevated fire weather shifts eastward today.

Please use caution anyway with outdoor fire.   It appeared there were some smoke plumes on radar yesterday.  Today would not be a good day for them to reappear.

Surely, you saw the tweet ... https://twitter.com/AltusReady/status/673937792875945984 ...  and the warmth is one of the factors for the elevated fire threat today.  From 1 pm to 5 pm, the winds come up along with the temperature while the relative humidity values tumble into the low 20% values.

Saturday's forecast has changed to include a chance of showers AND thunderstorms during the parade time.  In fact, today's Hazardous Weather Outlook just issued states 

From our friends at the Storm Prediction Center:


From Rick Smith at the National Weather Service Office in Norman writes:

The severe weather risk area for Saturday has expanded, with the slight risk (as of early Friday morning) now covering most of our area. Don't let the calendar fool you - the atmosphere doesn't know or care that it's December. 

Storms are expected to develop over western Oklahoma and western north Texas by very late Saturday afternoon or early Saturday evening, expanding to affect a good part of our warning area through the evening and overnight hours. Most of this event will happen after dark.

The main question we have regarding tomorrow's severe weather risk is how unstable the air will be. We expect clouds over much of the area for a good part of Saturday, but if clouds are able to break and we get heating from the sun, this would lead to more unstable air which would then increase the severe weather potential. We'll still have some strong-severe storms even if it stays cloudy all day, but more sun will increase the potential for the storms to be more organized and more severe. This will be the thing to watch as we go through the day on Saturday.

There will be plenty of wind shear (winds changing in speed and direction as you go up in the atmosphere) for organized storms, and if the instability is high enough, some of those storms could be supercells. With high amounts of wind shear and very low cloud bases expected, it won't take nearly as much instability as it might in the springtime to have rotating storms with the potential for a tornado. We're not expecting a big tornado day, but as we are constantly reminded, it only takes one. 

The front moves through Oklahoma and north Texas late Saturday night, taking the threat of severe storms with it and ushering in cooler air for Sunday

Keep an eye on our web page for the most up-to-date information, and be sure you are following us on Facebook and Twitter. 


Rick Smith - Warning Coordination Meteorologist
National Weather Service - Norman Forecast Office
120 David L. Boren Blvd., Suite 2400
Norman, OK 73072
NWS Norman on the Web
NWS Norman on Facebook
NWS Norman on Twitter

Altus is on the edge of a slight risk area for severe weather.  Please be VERY weather aware Saturday.  While wind is the prime threat mentioned above, thunder is caused by lightning.  Please remember your lightning safety rules.  "When thunder roars, come indoors."  "If you can hear thunder, you are close enough to the storm to be struck." http://1.usa.gov/1Z2Vm1G

If your travel includes the Gulf Coast this weekend, please be extra weather aware there.

Be safe and observe "Salesperson's Day" http://bit.ly/1NKaKwd responsibly.

Wednesday, December 9, 2015

NOAA's Winter Safety Campaign effort launched #OKwx #Skywarn #AltusOK

Some parts of the country have already experienced winter weather and we hope you have been able to use our Winter Preparedness page.

And now you can take full advantage of our Winter Safety campaign with a wide array of resources...from template blog narratives to social media posts.  Help us build a Weather-Ready Nation this winter by engaging your employees on the hazards in your area and promote to your stakeholders.  Together we can encourage communities, businesses, and individuals to know their risks, take action, and be an example to others.

Access the Winter Safety Campaign where you can find material in our Outreach Toolkit for your use on the right side of the site.  You can use these resources throughout the winter season. One easy contribution we encourage you to make is posting safety messages on your social media platforms.  At the bottom of this email are posts for Facebook, Twitter (use the hashtag #WinterSafety), and Instagram.

Want to learn more about preparing for a winter storm during the holidays?  Join NOAA speakers during FEMA's "'Tis the Season: Preparing for a Winter Storm and the Holidays" webinar next Thursday, December 10, 2015 from 2:00-3:00pm EST.  You can register for the webinar at:

Note: This webinar will offer closed captioning.


 Matthew Lyttle, from the FEMA Individual and Community Preparedness Division, will discuss 

America's PrepareAthon! and ways to prepare for a winter storm.

 National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, National Weather Service will present on 

the winter seasonal outlook, El NiƱo, Winter Weather Safety Campaign and driving safety.

 Judy Comoletti, from the National Fire Protection Association, will present on holiday safety and 

the risk of Christmas tree and cooking fires.

 Sandy Facinoli, from the FEMA U.S. Fire Administration, will present on holiday safety, the risk 

of electrical and candle fires, the danger of New Year's fireworks and heating safety.

And here are the sample social media posts...

December 1 marks the beginning of meteorological winter. Frigid temperatures, heavy snow, icy roads, strong winds, flooding and more can make winter particularly dangerous. Make sure you and your loved ones are prepared for the hazardous weather this winter will bring by checking out the National Weather Service's Winter Safety website! http://www.nws.noaa.gov/com/weatherreadynation/winter_safety.html #WinterSafety

Get ready for winter weather hazards by visiting our Winter Safety website! http://www.nws.noaa.gov/com/weatherreadynation/winter_safety.html #WinterSafety



Thank you for connecting with the
Weather-Ready Nation Team
"Be a Force of Nature"

Saturday, December 5, 2015

How safe are your Christmas Decorations? #AltusOK #OKfire

Deck the Halls: Fire Safe Edition

water your Christmas tree everyday
Holiday decorations may be visually appealing, but they also increase your risk for a home fire. According to the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA), electrical problems cause 38 percent of home Christmas tree fires.

As you deck the halls of your home this season, follow these tips from NFPA and the U.S. Fire Administration (USFA) to prevent serious electrical and fire hazards: 
  • Check light sets for frayed or damaged wiring before using;
  • Connect no more than three mini light sets for decorating;
  • Keep your tree at least three feet away from heat sources like fireplaces, radiators, candles or heat vents;
  • If you have a live tree, remember to add water to the tree stand daily; and
  • Always turn off holiday lights before leaving home or going to bed.
Give the gift of safety this season. For more holiday safety tips, download and share USFA’s “Put a Freeze on Winter Holiday Fires” infographic with family and friends.

Wednesday, December 2, 2015

What will Winter Weather look like at your place? #AltusOK #OKwx #Skywarn

Get Prepared for Winter Weather

Brrr! Cooler temperatures are setting in, which means winter is on its way. Before winter weather hits your area, talk with your family about how to stay safe and take action to get prepared! Planning and preparing can help you manage the impact of severe winter weather.

The How to Prepare for a Winter Storm guide from America’s PrepareAthon! outlines steps you can take now, including:
  • Gather emergency supplies;
  • Make a family emergency communication plan;
  • Install battery-powered or battery back-up carbon monoxide detectors;
  • If you have access to an outside generator, have an electric cord long enough to keep the generator at least 20 feet from any door, window, or vent;
  • NEVER use a generator inside your home or in any partially enclosed area; and
  • Be alert to changing weather conditions using local alerts, battery-operated radios, and other news sources for information and instructions.
To learn more about preparing for winter weather, take a look at this animated video, and see what to do “When the Sky Turns Gray.”

Tuesday, December 1, 2015

Storm Debris news in the #AltusOK area

Altus --- Insurance is the first place to look for help with storm debris removal, according to area emergency management officials.

"Many insurance policies have a provision for debris caused by winter storms and high winds," said Lloyd Colston, Altus Emergency Management director.

"It is important to know what is included in your insurance," echoed Wayne Cain, Jackson County Emergency Management director.

Colston also stressed that homeowners who hire the work done should use reputable vendors.  Those companies know they are responsible for removing the trees they cut down.

The Governor of Oklahoma has declared an emergency for the winter weather.  The declaration covers all 77 counties in the State.

Area residents who are unable to remove their own debris could call or text a hotline at (202) 569-8260.  Please leave a message with the address, name, and a callback number.  Also, Colston asked residents to use that number to report how many hours the resident has spent in debris work on their property or helping a neighbor.

Residents may also call (405) 443-7583, (405) 388-6912, or (405) 415-5261 for the Oklahoma Baptist Disaster Relief group.  The web site http://www.okdisasterhelp.org/ is also available to register your need.
Oklahoma Baptist Disaster Relief volunteers are going all over the state to help remove the fallen tree branches that have damaged resident's property. They give priority to the elderly, people with access and functional needs, single mothers and also how severe the damage is.
Altus Power Acting Superintendent Mike Villareal reported the power outages in the Altus area were caused by tree limbs coming in contact with electric lines.
This is a common problem, according to Colston.  "It can be remedied if property owners will keep their trees trimmed."
For more information about emergency management, residents may call Cain at 580.482.0229 or 580.481.2260 for Colston.  At http://altusem.blogspot.com area residents may find other information.