Weatherford Independent School District

Safety and Security » Dangerous Weather Information

Dangerous Weather Information

Purpose:

 

Weatherford ISD uses a custom weather monitoring tool that provides campus specific alerts and direct access to a meteorologist.   While not every possible situation is covered by this document, it provides information about our action plans for mitigating risks caused by inclement weather.  Weather monitoring and our responses to dangerous weather events are key components of our emergency management posture.  

 

The majority of the material listed below focuses on thunderstorms and the hazards these storms produce – damaging winds, lightning, hail, tornadoes, flash floods and winter weather. 

 

Weatherford ISD’s priorities during emergent events are outlined below:

 

  1. Protection of life, 
  2. Protection of property, 
  3. Recovery and Continuity of Services.

 

Lightning

 

The DFW area averages over 46 thunderstorm days per year.  By definition, a thunderstorm contains lightning.  Lightning poses a significant threat to anyone outdoors.  Perry Weather and our Pocket Perry Weather application offers detailed storm prediction and lightening alerts for our district. 

 

Lightning Advisory / Lightning Caution

 

Indicates lightning has occurred within a 10 - 30 mile radius of a campus or district area, and the potential exists for the storm to move closer to the area. The Advisory or Caution will stay in effect until the threat of lightning is no longer within indicated range.

 

When an Advisory or Caution is issued during the school day, the following shall occur on the campus:

 

  • Notice by office staff shall be issued to all staff members with students outside (playground, PE and athletic fields, ag barn, band marching field, and other learning areas) that an Advisory or Caution notice has been issued.
  • Plans will be made to bring students into safe shelter if the alert goes to a warning.
  • Admin and specified teachers for the campus will receive a text message from the Perry Weather program. The text will say: “Lightning within the Advisory or Caution Range.”

 

Students and staff are allowed to stay outside in their activity during an Advisory or Caution.

 

  • Campus administrators may choose to move students and staff indoors during an advisory notice.
  • Athletic trainers and head coaches may choose to move students and coaching staff indoors during an advisory notice.

 

Lightning Warning

 

Indicates lightning is now moving within 10 miles of a campus or district area.

 

When a warning is issued during the school day the following shall occur on the campus:

 

  • Notice by office staff will be issued to all staff members with students outside (playground, PE and athletic fields, ag barn, band marching field, and other learning areas) to immediately move all students and staff into safe shelter until the warning has been removed.
  • Organizations that conduct outside activities before and/or after school hours will immediately move into safe shelter until the warning has been removed.
  • Admin for the campus will receive a text message from the Perry Weather Program. The text will say “Lightning within the Warning Range.”
  • Admin will hold staff and students inside until given the “All Clear” from the Perry Weather Program or the Director of Safety and Security or district level administrator. The warning will stay in effect until the threat of lightning has moved outside the 10 mile range and there have been no lightning strikes for 30 continuous minutes.

 

If a warning occurs at the end of the school day, each campus under the warning shall adhere to the follow procedures until the warning has been lifted:

 

  • Keep all staff and students in the building.
  • In the event that we need to shelter in place for dismissal, an announcement will be made over the intercom.
  • Teachers need to hold their students in the classroom and not allow students to leave the school building.
  • Buses will be held at the campus and students shall not be loaded onto them.
  • If buses have been loaded, have students remain on buses. Do not attempt to move them inside where they would be out in the weather
  • If a parent requests their child be released to them and campus staff has gone over all the information with the parent/guardian, the student will be released to them.
  • The warning will stay in effect until the threat of lightning has moved outside the 10 mile range and there have been no lightning strikes for 30 continuous minutes.
  • The district Communications Department will produce emergency "SchoolMessenger" callouts for parents and guardians when a warning occurs that will delay dismissal. The message will be sent to all families in the district due to impact of bus service, car riders, and students who walk.

 

Flash Floods

 

Flash flooding is the rapid rise – usually six hours or less – of water along a stream or low lying urban area.  Flash floods are a common occurrence across Parker County.  Some of our communities are located in close proximity to the Brazos River which makes our region particularly susceptible to flash flooding.

 

When there is the possibility of flash flooding, the National Weather Service will issue a Flash Flood Watch.  A Watch means conditions are favorable for flash flooding.  You should continue with your daily routine, but know what to do if a Flash Flood Warning is issued.  A Flash Flood Warning means the flooding is imminent or occurring. 

 

Action must be taken to protect life and property! Flooding is a weather-related killer, averaging 150 deaths per year nationally.  Half of these deaths occur in automobiles. 

 

Major river flooding generally is well forecasted with warnings issued early enough that school officials can plan their strategy for school bus operations.  We have learned from past incidents that Horseshoe Bend and Rio Brazos neighborhoods are particularly prone to flooding and route modification will be considered when the Brazos River reaches levels above 18’ and additional rain is expected.  Over flow water release from Possum Kingdom Lake may also cause flooding to Horseshoe Bend and Rio Brazos Communities.

 

Brazos River water levels can be viewed by clicking on the following NOAA link:

https://water.weather.gov/ahps2/hydrograph.php?wfo=fwd&gage=dnnt2&refresh=true

 

The Brazos River Authority provides updates and warnings on their Facebook page.  The link is listed below:

https://www.facebook.com/Brazos-River-Authority-126719790675809/?hc_ref=ARSBklKXiaHLuAfj9tDZc8Iq8Vhenb5vhvL0O-wfSnGujpri9H83dbZaOdRFRFmjB8s&__xts__[0]=68.ARBB_hAmyKW-_MP2fZd5WdhQTbr_w3mnO9RP-HqazGYhOaJEPjxEtMtanC24mVnbNRtod6C8QKbPG3OuHglkOO91gin-5UX9RI_JkdrjoeQKbz4jyiGMIiylOlhARyVnyRZZ1PDtS-a8DMRX5e32qRR5W60BsY3uBXoKcv2FUpk7ZwVkNqf-j1OhSxgVRQ80SAUkzojxZt8&__tn__=%3C-R

 

Alternate Locations during Flood Warning Events:

 

  • Students residing in the Horseshoe Bend area will be picked up at Horseshoe Bend Baptist Church.  If Horseshoe Bend Road is impassable by a school bus, students will be picked up and dropped off at Mary’s Café.
  • Students residing in the Rio Brazos neighborhood will be picked up at Mary’s Café. 

 

Route changes will be communicated by WISD’s Communications Department and the Transportation office.

 

Tornadoes

 

Severe thunderstorms are those storms which produce winds of 58 mph or greater and/or hail of 1 inch in diameter or larger. 

 

Tornadoes are violently rotating columns of air attached to the cloud base above and in contact with the ground below.  Severe weather events and Tornadoes are common in North Texas.  Keep in mind, that although most common during the warm weather months, severe weather can strike during any season.    

 

If conditions are favorable for severe weather, the National Weather Service will issue either a Severe Thunderstorm Watch or Tornado Watch.  Again, a Watch means severe weather is possible.  Continue with your daily routine but be alert for the issuance of a severe thunderstorm warning.  A Severe Thunderstorm Warning or Tornado Warning means that severe thunderstorms or tornadoes respectively are imminent or occurring.  Take cover now to protect life and property!

 

Winter Weather

 

Extreme winter weather takes a toll on lives and property throughout many portions of the United States.  Heavy snow and freezing rain are responsible for numerous traffic fatalities each year.  Moreover, hundreds of deaths and injuries from hypothermia, exposure, and frostbite are reported each year as bitter cold air masses plunge into the United States during the winter.

 

Many people are still injured or killed despite a long history of extreme winter weather activity in our region.  Of all winter deaths related to ice and snow, 70 percent occur in motor vehicle accidents and 25 percent are people caught out in the storm.

 

  • Snow Storms - We all know that snow can immobilize a region and paralyze a city, stranding commuters, stopping the flow of supplies, and disrupting emergency and medical services.    When snow is accompanied by wind, travel becomes even more hazardous.  School bus routes may be blocked by drifting snow and travel may be hindered by near whiteout conditions.  Often times, bus service is delayed or unavailable.     
  • Ice Storms - Heavy accumulations of ice can bring down trees, utility lines, and communication towers, blocking roads and causing power outages.  Roadways become a glaze of ice and nearly impassable.  Again, school buses may be delayed or unavailable.
  • Extreme Cold - Extremely cold temperatures often accompany a winter storm or are felt in its wake.  Prolonged exposure can cause frostbite or hypothermia and can become life threatening.  This is a problem especially for children waiting at bus stops or at outdoor recess. 

 

When extremely cold temperatures are accompanied by wind, an especially dangerous situation exists.  The Wind Chill is based on the rate of heat loss from exposed skin caused by the combined effects of wind and cold.  As the wind increases, heat is carried away from the body at an accelerated rate, driving down the body temperature, leading to frostbite and/or hyperthermia.  

 

Excessive Heat

 

In our region extreme heat may last through September.  Like wind to cold, humidity adds to the effects of heat.  A "heat index" is used to combine these effects.  The National Weather Service will issue a heat advisory when the “heat index” is expected to reach 95F and an excessive heat warning when it is expected to reach or exceed 105F.  At temperatures of 95F and greater, heat disorders such as cramps, heat exhaustion, and heatstroke are possible.  Students should be kept out of the sun and strenuous activities should be eliminated.  Encourage students to drink plenty of water and wear light-colored, lightweight clothing.  School staff should familiarize themselves with the symptoms of heat disorders and first aid procedures.  

 

Conclusion:

 

Our goal is to ensure that every student's safety is adequately accounted for when the weather turns severe.  Only through awareness and preparedness, can the safety of all school children and personnel be assured.