Local residents are still dealing with winter weather. But they were reminded of the devastating effects of a tornado with recent news of a twister in Alabama that killed at least 23 people.

Local residents are still dealing with winter weather. But they were reminded of the devastating effects of a tornado with recent news of a twister in Alabama that killed at least 23 people.

“I’m hoping people will look at that and see the importance of having a severe weather plan,” said Chuck Magaha, director of Leavenworth County Emergency Management.

While tornadoes can occur anytime of the year, Leavenworth County is now in what typically is considered a tornado season for this region.

This week is recognized in Kansas as Severe Weather Awareness Week.

Leavenworth County participated Tuesday in a statewide tornado drill by sounding outdoor warning sirens.

Magaha said the warning sirens are designed to only be heard outdoors. But there are multiple ways people can receive alerts about threatening weather when they are at home or elsewhere.

He said people can purchase weather alert radios. There also are a number of weather apps for mobile devices including an AlertSense app being offered through the Leavenworth County Sheriff’s Office.

“We encourage people to take preparedness seriously,” Magaha said.

He said people can put together 72-hour kits with supplies they may need for up to 72 hours after a disaster.

Magaha also recommends establishing an out-of-area contact to serve as a point of contact following a disaster.

If a major disaster hits the area, local residents may be able to make outgoing phone calls. But people from outside of the area may have trouble phoning in.

Magaha said local residents can contact their out-of-area contacts to report they are OK. Relatives and other loved ones then can check with the out-of-area contacts to find out how the local residents are doing.

And while people may focus on tornadoes this time of year, Magaha said there are other types of severe weather threats.

“Our number one threat for Leavenworth County is flooding,” he said.

He said this is not only river flooding, but flash flooding as well.

For more information about emergency preparedness, people can visit the websites www.ready.gov and www.preparemetrokc.org

Twitter: @LVTNewsJohnR