Fort Riley prepares for severe weather

By Jessica Healey | 1ST INF. DIV. POST | March 21, 2014

Editor’s note: This is the first article in a series of articles during March in observance of Severe Weather Awareness Month.

Soon, the cold temperatures and snow will be gone and severe thunderstorms, along with tornado season will arrive.

Kansas observes Severe Weather Awareness Week during the first week of March annually. Fort Riley observes Severe Weather Awareness Month during March.

Severe weather can include severe thunderstorms, as well as tornadoes, hail, lightning and flash flooding, and often a combination of many at the same time.

According to the National Weather Service, tornadoes can occur at any time of the year, but they are most likely to occur during the spring and summer months of April, May and June, with a peak during the last half of May and the first half of June across Northeast Kansas.

Fort Riley is always preparing for possible severe weather that could result in tornadoes and other severe weather threats.

Throughout March, emergency management at Fort Riley will be disseminating information relating to severe weather and preparation, said Chris Hallenbeck, emergency management specialist, Emergency Management Office, Directorate of Plans, Training, Mobilization and Security.

Information booths were set up March 7 at the Main Post Exchange, and another booth will be set up later in the month at the Fort Riley Commissary. The purpose of the information booths is to offer community members severe weather information and tips about preparing for severe weather.

Additionally, Fort Riley will be testing its emergency notification systems, like the Giant Voice System, tornado sirens, the Little Voice System and the AtHoc notification system to ensure they are ready should they be needed.

Fort Riley’s emergency notification systems rely on the weather prediction of Fort Riley’s 2nd Weather Detachment.

“Our weather guys, they deal with our specific area,” Hallenbeck said. “They narrow it down to the greater (Central) Flint Hills (Region).”

AtHoc is a messaging system, which relays severe weather and other community alerts to community members affiliated with Fort Riley and who have signed up to receive AtHoc messages.

AtHoc signup kiosks can be found at Army Community Service, the Soldier Readiness Processing Center, In-processing and the Defense Eligibility Enrollments Reporting System, or DEERS, ID card center.

Another messaging system for both on and off post is the Immediate Response Information System, which can be utilized by signing up at

For more information about severe weather awareness or for emergency preparedness, visit