be prepared, not scared

The Washington County-Johnson City Emergency Management Agency is here to help you and your family prepare for emergency situations. In most instances, your first reaction to any emergency can make a big difference. A highway spill of hazardous materials could mean instant evacuation. A winter storm could confine your family at home. An earthquake or tornado could isolate you from basic services like gas, water, telephone, and electricity for several days. The more informed you are about the type of possible emergency situations that can occur, the better prepared you will be.

Tornadoes are possible in the designated WATCH area. Remain alert for approaching storms. Keep track of the latest forecasts and be ready to take cover if severe weather threatens.

A tornado has been sighted or indicated by Doppler Weather Radar. Warnings mean that severe weather is occurring. TAKE COVER IMMEDIATELY.

Severe thunderstorms are possible in the designated WATCH area.

Severe thunderstorms are occurring. Move to your planned place of safety. Remember, severe thunderstorms occasionally produce tornadoes with little or no warning

Flash flooding or flooding is possible in the designated WATCH area. Be alert.

Flash flooding or flooding has been reported or is imminent. Take necessary precautions at once.

Flooding of small streams, streets, and low-lying areas such as underpasses and urban storm drains is occurring.

Check out our household preparedness guide to see how ready you are for an emergency.

Mission & Function

Mission Statment: To provide the most efficient and effective coordination of resources available in the mitigation of; planning and preparation for; response to and recovery from emergencies and disasters.

Functions: We assist other agencies with response or Emergency Operation Center (EOC) activation for major fires, hazardous materials spills, bomb threats, rescue operations, aircraft disasters, evacuations, etc., to help in mitigation with the on-scene commanders in coordination of assorted resources. EMA has a National Weather Service Wire in the office that keeps us aware of changing weather in the area. This enables EMA to know about any severe weather that may be affecting our area.

Staff: Our staff consists of a director, operations/training officer and trained volunteers. Our director provides overall direction and control for all disaster-related response activities, planning for WMD, Haz-Mat, natural emergency events and personnel. The operations/training officer oversees daily operations, is EOC coordinator, assists with planning, and provides training.

Severe Thunderstorms

Thirteen people died, hundreds were seriously injured and numerous homes were destroyed when a series of severe storms swept through our region in April 2011.

Are you prepared? Do you know what to do? The National Weather Service is just a click away.

Severe thunderstorms can strike any time of the year. Severe thunderstorms and tornadoes are more frequent in the spring months of March, April and May. Tennessee also has a "secondary" severe weather season in November and December. Severe thunderstorms can, and do, occur anytime of the day and night and during any month of the year. Damaging thunderstorm winds are much more common in Tennessee than tornadoes. The National Weather Service defines a thunderstorm as “severe” when wind speeds reach 58 mph or stronger and/or 3/4 inch hail (or larger) falls from the storm. Winds from severe thunderstorms can well exceed 100 mph, overturning trailers, unroofing homes, and toppling trees and power lines. Most of the storm damage in our area is caused by straight line winds from thunderstorm downbursts. Severe thunderstorm wind speeds may equal the wind speeds of weak to strong tornadoes. All thunderstorms are capable of producing deadly lightning, and remember: severe thunderstorms can produce tornadoes with little or no warning.