Governor Fallin introduces severe weather initiatives

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OKLAHOMA - Governor Fallin announced Thursday several severe weather initiatives the state has developed since last May's tornado outbreak.

"We are working on how we can help our communities continue to rebuild, to be able to grow, and to certainly learn lessons on what we can do better in our state," Fallin said at the capital.

She said the state is working with the private sector to enhance warning and recovery efforts.

For example, OG&E, Public Service Company of Oklahoma (PSO) and the Oklahoma Association of Electric Cooperatives (OAEC) are working with the state to expedite power restoration following emergencies.

Lamar Advertising will commit space for severe weather alerts on 25 digital billboards in the Oklahoma City metro and 21 in Tulsa.

Governor Fallin will also appear in several public service announcements to remind Oklahomans to be prepared for severe weather.

NewsChannel 4's Mike Morgan was on hand as part of the Governor's task force on weather safety.

"What are the limitations of the science of meteorology?" David Andra, Meteorologist in charge of the National Weather Service Norman forecast office, said. "What can we detect? How reasonably can we predict tornado intensity, even in the very short-term or the path it's going to take?"

Since August of last year, a set of tornado safety guidelines has been established, including the need for multiple warning systems and how to take shelter from tornadoes.

Officials urge families to have a plan, have several ways to receive emergency weather information, and act decisively if a tornado warning is issued.

A new program called "Safe Schools 101" has already trained more than 200 architects, engineers and other officials to assess school buildings for safe room options and identify safe refuge areas that already exist in schools.

"What we need to do now is to continue that training program, get more and more architects and engineers on board and to go out and actually help as many schools as we can over the next twelve months," Albert Ashwood, Director of the Oklahoma Department of Emergency Management (OEM), said.

Fallin said the PSAs cost $14,000 to produce and came out of the budget of the OEM.

The PSAs will be featured here and here

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