Storm spotter, EMA director weigh in on upcoming severe weather

Updated: Feb. 28, 2017 at 4:30 PM CST
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(KFVS) - The entire Heartland is under a threat of severe weather overnight on Tuesday and into Wednesday morning.

Because of this, we have declared it a First Alert Action Day.

David Patterson, a storm spotter, said he is getting all packed up for the storms.

Patterson has been a certified weather spotter with the National Weather Service for about six years. That means when he calls Emergency Response directors in our area, they take his reports seriously.

He said he is trained to notice bad storms and tornadoes from miles away and his job during storms is important in keeping everyone safe.

"I'm out here where most people aren't, where meteorologists might want to be and I'm able to replay the information and kill two birds with one stone," Patterson said. "If I'm going to be out there taking pictures, I might as well be wanting to help people at the same time."

Patterson warns against chasing the storms if you are not certified.

He said while chasing storms himself, he stays a reasonable amount of distance away.

It can't be stressed enough how important it is to be prepared during severe weather. So, with the storms on the way, we want to help keep you and your family safe.

We met with Trey Hardy, the Scott County, Missouri Emergency Management director, in Benton, Mo. on Tuesday.

Hardy said with storms like this, you have to wait and see, but most of all, get ready. He's keeping in close contact with the National Weather Service on how the severe weather is progressing.

He wanted to stress in situations like this, there is time to prepare for any situation.

"Take steps to where, if you might be having to fend for yourself for a while, it wouldn't hurt to keep water, canned goods, MREs - meals ready to eat," he said. "In weather situations of this nature, you're going to have a pretty good leadway. It's always good to have that material or those items around at all times."

Hardy said the best way to stay up to date is sticking with KFVS and signing up for Nixle alerts.

"Because the potential is at night, it wouldn't be a bad idea to not only check the batteries in your radio in case your power goes out, but have your flashlights and your electric lanterns," he said. "Have some sort of light source. We in response have those on our equipment. We have machines that can pull out and will light up the area, but as an individual, that would be part of your preparation."

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