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Johnson County urges residents to get ready for severe weather

This is Severe Weather Awareness Week and Johnson County Emergency Management officials ask residents to stay mindful of potential spring weather hazards. Spring weather in Kansas brings many potential hazards — tornadoes, damaging winds, large hail and flash flooding.

The National Weather Service in Kansas City will conduct a statewide tornado drill 10 a.m. Tuesday, March 6, which will coincide with a test of the county’s emergency notification system, NotifyJoCo, to prepare residents for alerts during severe weather season. The drill will include a test of outdoor warning sirens.

“Last year was a memorable one for severe weather in Johnson County,” said Trent Pittman, assistant director for community preparedness. “We saw 85 mile-per-hour winds at Executive Airport, a tornado in Leawood, baseball-sized hail, 80 mile-per-hour winds from De Soto to Mission, and two record-breaking floods spanning one week in July.”

FEMA recommends residents know the risks, develop an emergency family plan detailing how to connect and where to meet in situations when phone lines may be down, and to have an emergency kit in your home and car with a supply of bottled water, non-perishable food items, medicines, pet supplies and other items for the family.

For more on how to prepare, go to ready.gov and joco72.org.

Johnson County has now made it easier to sign up for emergency alerts. Anyone who lives, works or plays in Johnson County can text NOTIFYJOCO (all one word) to 888777 to begin receiving countywide alerts on their mobile device.

There are three easy ways to sign up for NotifyJoCo alerts:

  1. Text NOTIFYJOCO (all one word) to 888777 to instantly register for countywide alerts via text message to your mobile device. Standard text messaging rates will apply. 
  2. Go to notifyjoco.org and customize alerts for up to five designated locations and select your preferred communication methods (phone, text, email). You can also opt-in for a variety of non-emergency messages.
  3. Call 913-826-5555 to register for alerts if you don’t have access to a computer.

While the system has access to many business and residential land lines numbers to make notifications in emergencies, all Johnson County residents are encouraged to sign up for NotifyJoCo to ensure they receive emergency alerts for their preferred locations and delivery methods via its website, notifyjoco.org, or by calling 913-826-5555.