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Severe Weather Awareness Week brings reminder to be prepared

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SPRINGFIELD, TN (WSMV) -

The National Weather Service is conducting Tennessee Severe Weather Awareness Week, just as a storm system is expected to bring strong straight-line winds and possible tornadoes to the area Thursday.

For one community, it's coming way too soon. Just more than a year after an EF-1 tornado tore up 17 miles in Robertson County, neighbors are still cleaning up.

"It's just a big roar, like a big train," said tornado survivor Brodie Wilkinson.

The haunting sound is fresh on Wilkinson's mind, and the neighbors along Gum Station Road know firsthand how devastating it can be.

"The porch that was on the old house that has been here since the 1700s, it took it off and carried it up the road about a mile and a half," Wilkinson said.

"In my yard, there were 30 or so trees," said tornado survivor Ralph Jerrell. "It looks like the hand of God just wiped them down."

It was a $10,000 cleanup in one yard, and barns in the area are still leaning from the storm.

Getting caught off guard is a big concern. That tornado hit at about 2 a.m., and thankfully no one was hurt. Neighbors and experts say having a weather radio is the key.

"So you can go to bed at night and know that if a tornado is sighted and heading your way, and a warning is issued, that radio is going to turn on and alert you to the threat," said NWS meteorologist Tom Johnstone.

This week for Severe Weather Awareness Week, the NWS and Tennessee Emergency Management Agency say the key message is "be prepared." They suggest families conduct drills so everyone knows where to safely go in the event of severe weather. Also, put together an emergency kit.

And stay informed. The Ready TN app is free and available for smartphones and tablets. It displays important information during emergencies.

Copyright 2014 WSMV (Meredith Corporation). All rights reserved.

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