North Little Rock – The Arkansas Department of Emergency Management (ADEM) is monitoring the severe weather activity that has occurred on December 31, 2011. At this time the State Emergency Operations Center (SEOC) is operational at a level II. Three fatalities have been reported in Washington County.
Washington County Emergency Management has received reports of three fatalities in the Cincinnati area. There are damages and power outages throughout the county.
Benton County Emergency Management has reported 2 minor injuries and damage to five homes in the southwest part of the county. At this time the XMA airport is closed.
Tornado Safety for Arkansans
The Arkansas Department of Emergency Management (ADEM) urges Arkansans to monitor TV and radio broadcasts for storm information, as well as NOAA weather radio.
A TORNADO WATCH is issued when tornado activity is expected. It means WATCH the sky. A TORNADO WARNING means TAKE ACTION because a tornado is on the ground. Seek shelter immediately. Because a tornado has already been seen, a tornado warning usually covers a specific area whereas a tornado watch area can range from few counties to the entire state depending on weather activity.
When a tornado is sighted, the most important rule is to get low and stay low.
Seek shelter in an interior room on the lowest floor of the home, such as a bathroom, closet or room without windows. In an office building, go to an interior room or hallway on the lowest floor. Leave your mobile home and take shelter in a nearby building. If no building is nearby, lie flat in a ditch or ravine. Never stay in a car. Leave the car and lie flat in a ditch or ravine. If a building is nearby, take shelter inside. Never try to outrun a tornado in your car.
At school, follow plans and go to a designated shelter area, usually interior hallways on the lowest floor. Avoid auditoriums, gyms and areas with wide, free span roofs.
Go to the interior rooms and halls on the lowest floor of a shopping center. Do not leave the shopping center to get in your car.
If you are in open country, take cover on low, protected ground.
Avoid areas near exterior glass or doors and areas along exterior walls/rooms.
Because disaster can strike at any time, ADEM encourages everyone to have a disaster supply kit in their home and vehicle.