March 17-23: Severe Weather Awareness Week

Franklin County Emergency Management and Homeland Security (FCEM&HS) will recognize Severe Weather Awareness Week, March 17 – 23, 2024. Residents are reminded to prepare for severe weather before it happens. Hazardous conditions can occur anytime, anywhere without advance notice.

As part of Severe Weather Awareness Week, FCEM&HS urges the community to participate in the annual Statewide Tornado Drill on Wednesday, March 20, 2024, at 9:50 a.m. At that time, the Franklin County Outdoor Warning Sirens will be activated one time for three minutes, a longer tone than used during the regular Wednesday noon test. The test tone is the same “tornado warning” tone which would be used in an actual tornado warning. Area schools, businesses and residents are urged to participate.

“Living in Ohio, we know firsthand the unpredictable nature of our weather. That’s why it’s essential to stay informed and prepared.  This week serves as a vital reminder to have multiple channels for receiving emergency information,” said Jeffrey J. Young, Director of Franklin County Emergency Management & Homeland Security. “Many believe outdoor warning sirens are meant to alert everyone, everywhere. However, they are specifically designed to warn those outside. It’s equally important to have indoor alert systems including a NOAA Weather Radio and wireless emergency alerts including Let’s take the opportunity this year not only to watch the storm pass but to actively prepare, ensuring we can weather any storm together.”

Reminder: FCEM&HS activates the outdoor warning siren system by zones when the National Weather Service (NWS) issues a Tornado Warning for Franklin County. This allows the system to align with the polygons issued by the NWS or the actual location of tornadic activity more closely in the area. When the warning is issued, the sirens will sound for three minutes followed by seven minutes of silence. This sequence will repeat until the warning is canceled.

FCEM&HS encourages residents to be prepared for all types of severe weather by following these important safety procedures:

  • Know the Risk – Learn and understand the different types of weather hazards facing Franklin County.  The top hazards can be found on the agency website at
  • Know the Weather Terms – Know the difference between storm watches and storm warnings. For example, a tornado watch is issued by the National Weather Service when conditions are favorable for the development of tornadoes in and close to the area. A tornado warning is issued by the NWS when a tornado has been detected by radar or sighted by storm spotters.
  • Receive Notifications – Register for CODE RED emergency communications from the City of New Albany by clicking here or ALERT Franklin County at to receive severe weather alerts and important information. Residents are encouraged to have a NOAA Weather Radio and tune into TV or radio newscasts for up-to-date weather information.
  • Have a Plan/Build a Kit – Develop and practice an emergency plan with your family and include your pets. Know how to communicate and have a designated safe meeting place.  Build an emergency supply kit.  Be sure to include enough food, water and other supplies in sufficient quantity to last for at least 72 hours.