Tornado sirens will be activated twice today -- once in the morning and once in the evening -- as part of an annual, statewide tornado drill.
Sirens will be sounded at 10 a.m. to give schools and businesses a chance to practice severe weather drills, and again at 6:26 p.m. to give families an opportunity to practice.
"This is an opportunity for people to practice their own personal preparedness plans," said Paula Phillips, emergency management coordinator for Douglas County.
Phillips said the drill was an opportunity for families to discuss severe weather, and decide where they might seek shelter in the event of an emergency.
"It's also a time to make sure they have a battery-operated radio, flashlight, first-aid kit and all those types of essentials," she said.
Sunflower Cablevision broadcasting will be briefly interrupted during each drill period, while an announcement is made by the emergency management office. Weather radios also will be activated during the drills.
The exercise is held in conjunction with Severe Weather Awareness week in Kansas this week.
Other events that will be held later include a severe weather workshop at 7 p.m. March 18 at the Douglas County Fairgrounds.
Mike Akulow, warning coordination meteorologist with the National Weather Service in Topeka, will provide slides and videos of severe weather in Kansas.
He also will provide a review of the 1998 severe weather season.
A Douglas County Severe Weather Poster Contest for children in kindergarten through fifth grade also is being held.
The posters should include words or pictures on how to be safe or how to prepare yourself, your family or your home against a tornado or severe thunderstorm.
Children should send their entries by April 1 to Douglas County Emergency Management, 111 E. 11th, Room 17, Lawrence, KS, 66044.
Winners will be announced by April 15.
-- Michael Dekker's phone message number is 832-7187. His e-mail address is email@example.com.