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HUNTSVILLE — Next week is severe weather awareness week in Tennessee, and the Scott County Emergency Management Agency urges local residents to learn the steps to take in the event of severe weather.

With the spring severe weather season still weeks away, tornadoes have already become an issue in the Southeast, with Middle Tennessee experiencing its largest winter-season tornado outbreak ever and a violent tornado striking the campus of the University of Southern Mississippi over the weekend.

When severe weather threatens, the National Weather Service monitors the situation and issues alerts when they are deemed necessary.

There are numerous methods to receive weather watches, warnings and advisories. Examples include:

• NOAA Weather Radio: Watches and Warnings issued by NWS air on these radios.

• Television Stations: Local or national news stations monitor and broadcast weather alerts.

• AM/FM Radio: Radio stations are required to air Emergency Alert System messages.

• Smartphone Applications: Numerous to choose from, and user can specify areas for alerts.

• Text Message Alerts: Some television stations use text message alerts for specific areas.

• Alert FM Receiver: Similar to a NOAA Weather Radio, but relays the message from FM Stations.

It is important to have a way to receive severe weather warnings after you have gone to bed.  Most weather related injuries and deaths occur at night when people are asleep.  A NOAA weather radio, Alert FM receiver or smartphone app, which sounds an audible alert, will wake you when a warning is issued for your area so you can take the appropriate action.

Numerous free and paid smartphone applications have been created, notifying the public of severe weather. Some of these applications use the GPS tracking on your phone and will notify you of severe weather warnings based upon your location. This can ensure you will receive severe weather alerts wherever severe weather is occurring without having to program any special equipment.

Society is becoming more mobile, making Social Media sites like Facebook and Twitter become more popular for severe weather alerts. The NWS constantly updates Facebook (facebook.com/US.NationalWeatherService.Morristown.gov ) and Twitter (@NWSMorristown) with weather graphics, alerts and information about imminent severe weather.

To increase your chances of safely surviving a disaster, every family should have one or more methods for receiving severe weather alerts.

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Contact the Independent Herald at newsroom@ihoneida.com. Follow us on Twitter, @indherald.