Tornadoes are a fact of life for Tennesseans and our state is near the top of the list for tornado deaths in this country. However, most twisters that touch down here are survivable if you have a solid safety plan and know the best place to take shelter in your home.
Charlie Neese, a Nashville television meteorologist and severe weather safety expert, said he’s seeing a disturbing trend across the country when it comes to tornado deaths.
“Joplin, Mo., and Tuscaloosa, Ala., two cities hit by large tornadoes in recent years, had high numbers of deaths despite up to 20 minutes warning. With that much warning, the death rate should have been much lower. Something has to change,” said Neese.
With that in mind, Neese has partnered with the First Baptist Church of Fayetteville and Lincoln County Heath System to present TornadoSafe, a live, multimedia tornado safety program, on Wednesday, Feb. 6, at 6:30 p.m.
This presentation is open to everyone in Fayetteville and the surrounding area.
“Weather Service records show that more than 50 tornadoes have touched down within 50 miles Lincoln County just in the last five years,” Neese said. “Everyone should know exactly how to protect themselves from these storms.
“People are needlessly dying from tornadoes, because they don’t hear the warnings, they ignore them, they don’t know what to do or they don’t have a safe place to go. I address all of these issues in the TornadoSafe program,” he continued.
Neese, a current on-air meteorologist for the CBS affiliate Channel 5 in Nashville, is a two-time Emmy award winner for his live severe weather coverage and for his severe weather safety news series. He has studied several tornado damage paths, including ones from the record Alabama outbreak of 2011, in an effort to understand how buildings are affected by the extreme wind forces experienced during tornadoes.
Neese said he’s on a mission to share the lessons he’s learned through the years about tornado safety.
“When I’m tracking storms on radar and I see one that has the capability of producing a tornado, I always think to myself, ‘Do the people underneath this storm know what to do?’ I want to make sure they do,” he said. “In TornadoSafe, I talk about some things many people may have never considered when formulating their safety plan.”
TornadoSafe, presented by Lincoln County Health System, is being offered for free to anyone wishing to attend.
For more information, call First Baptist Church at (931) 433-7187 or visit Neese’s website at www.CharlieNeese.com.