Douglas County residents should prepare for severe weather, Emergency Management department says

photo by: Orlin Wagner/AP File Photo

In this AP file photo from May 18, 2017, a storm cloud moves over Silver Lake, Kan., west of Topeka.

As this never-ending winter has shown, severe weather can strike anytime and as often as it feels like it.

At least the snow and dangerously cold temperatures back in the forecast for the Lawrence area over the weekend and into next week will coincide with Severe Weather Awareness Week.

Douglas County Emergency Management invites residents to participate in severe weather-related activities from Monday through Friday, March 8.

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DCEM encourages households and businesses to practice, review and update severe weather plans during the next week, according to a news release from the organization.

The county will test its outdoor sirens at 10 a.m. Tuesday, weather permitting and in conjunction with the annual statewide tornado drill, according to the release.

Staff will also monitor social media at that time to answer severe weather preparedness questions. The department is on Twitter, @dgcoem, and on Facebook,

Jillian Rodrigue, assistant director of DCEM, said via email that the temperatures would play a role in whether the siren test would occur — the department tries to avoid activations when temperatures are below freezing.

“We know it will be very cold, but we’ll likely make the call on Monday,” she wrote. “The rest of the test will go as planned on Tuesday. It will post on our social media sites.”

The county also recommends that households and businesses make sure they can receive severe weather watches and other vital information in more than one way. The Northeast Kansas Regional Notification System offers alerts by text message, email and phone. Visit for details, or go to to sign up.

The department has further information and tips on its website, For specific questions about your home or office, call the department at 785-832-5259.

Weather 101 event

Additionally, the Topeka National Weather Service will visit town to host Weather 101 severe weather training from 7 to 8:30 p.m. on Wednesday, March 20, at the Lawrence Public Library, 707 Vermont St. The event is free and open to the public.

The presentation will include information about thunderstorm development and identification of important features, according to the release, and it may be beneficial for those who are new to the area, less familiar with severe weather terms or want a refresher on training. Emergency radios will be available for sale, and the event’s hosts will offer on-site programming.


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