Emergency Management 


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CivicReady utilizes an emergency notification system capable of contacting citizens and businesses quickly in case of an emergency in Pawnee County. CivicReady alerts the public of emergencies and disasters, safety measures to be taken, and information pertaining to government operations. You may also stay updated on all road closures and other important information in Pawnee County by subscribing to CivicReady. Click Here and sign up for the program that will keep you up-to-date with the latest information.

Contact Emergency Manager Josh Huff

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DATE LIFTED:     11-27-23

TIME:                    9:30am

 The Chairman of the Board of County Commissioners in its discretion has declared that the burn ban in Pawnee County, Kansas, has been lifted at this time until further notice. Even though the ban is being lifted this Agency strongly urges landowners that have a requirement to conduct controlled burns of a larger scale, to contact their local Fire Chief to discuss methods and weather considerations as an item of preparation prior to conducting a burn and urges property owners that lived within the city limits in the County to become familiar with ordinances dealing with burning as applicable before they light fires of any type. Please be aware of changing weather as wind and dry material can create conditions favorable for destructive fires even in high moisture environments.

The Burn Ban Status will always be listed on this page. We will also notify citizens through the Pawnee County Facebook Page and to citizens enrolled on the CivicReady Alert System.


NWS encourages anyone with an interest in public service to join the SKYWARN® program. Volunteers include police and fire personnel, dispatchers, EMS workers, public utility workers and other concerned private citizens. Individuals affiliated with hospitals, schools, churches and nursing homes or who have a responsibility for protecting others are encouraged to become a spotter. Ready to learn more? Find a class in your area. Training is free and typically lasts about 2 hours. You'll learn:


Basics of thunderstorm development

Fundamentals of storm structure

Identifying potential severe weather features

Information to report

How to report information

Basic severe weather safety



Over the past couple of years we have grown familiar with disaster on a national and even world scale. We have all experienced the fear and anxiety associated with facing changing times and unknown forces. Preparing can and will help you survive in an emergency as well as alleviate anxiety and fear. We have set up the following links to aid you in finding the resources needed to plan, prepare, and know what to do in case of an emergency. 

WINTER WEATHER                            MAKE A PLAN

FLOODING                                          GET VACCINATED



Keeping yourself updated with the latest information during a disaster can be crucial to knowing what to do and where to go for further information. Pawnee County utilizes CivicReady to send emergency alerts and other notifications. Subscribers can register to receive emergency alerts and other notifications via phone call, text message, and / or email. Click here to learn more 


Pawnee County Emergency Management Storm Readiness Information 

When are tornadoes most likely?

Tornado season usually refers to the time of year the U.S. sees the most tornadoes. The peak “tornado season” for the southern Plains (e.g., Texas, Oklahoma, and Kansas) is from May into early June. On the Gulf coast, it is earlier in the spring. In the northern Plains and upper Midwest (North and South Dakota, Nebraska, Iowa, Minnesota), tornado season is in June or July. But, remember, tornadoes can happen at any time of year. Tornadoes can also happen at any time of day or night, but most tornadoes occur between 4–9 p.m.big tornado
What is the difference between a Tornado WATCH and a Tornado WARNING?

A Tornado WATCH is issued by the NOAA Storm Prediction Center meteorologists who watch the weather 24/7 across the entire U.S. for weather conditions that are favorable for tornadoes and severe weather. A watch can cover parts of a state or several states. Watch and prepare for severe weather and stay tuned to NOAA Weather Radio to know when warnings are issued.

A Tornado WARNING is issued by your local NOAA National Weather Service Forecast Office meteorologists who watch the weather 24/7 over a designated area. This means a tornado has been reported by spotters or indicated by radar and there is a serious threat to life and property to those in the path of the tornado. A tornado warning indicates that you should ACT NOW to find safe shelter! A warning can cover parts of counties or several counties in the path of danger.

where to go

Preparing for a Tornado

  • Be Weather-Ready: Check the forecast regularly to see if you’re at risk for tornadoes. Listen to local news or a NOAA Weather Radio to stay informed about tornado watches and warnings. Check the Weather-Ready Nation for tips.
  • Sign Up for Notifications: Know how your community sends warnings. Some communities have outdoor sirens. Others depend on media and smart phones to alert residents of severe storms capable of producing tornadoes.
  • Create a Communications Plan: Have a family plan that includes an emergency meeting place and related information. If you live in a mobile home or home without a basement, identify a nearby safe building you can get too quickly, such as a church or family member.
  • Pick a safe room in your home, such as a basement, storm cellar, or an interior room on the lowest floor with no windows. Check more ideas for your family plan at: https://www.ready.gov/make-a-plan
  • Practice Your Plan: Conduct a family severe thunderstorm drill regularly so everyone knows what to do if a tornado is approaching. Make sure all members of your family know to go there when tornado warnings are issued. Don’t forget pets if time allows.
  • Prepare Your Home: Consider having your safe room reinforced. You can find plans for reinforcing an interior room to provide better protection on the Federal Emergency Management Agency website.
  • Help Your Neighbor: Encourage your loved ones to prepare for the possibility of tornadoes. Take CPR training so you can help if someone is hurt.tornado-overpass

The Enhanced Fujita Scale or EF Scale, which became operational on February 1, 2007, is used to assign a tornado's "rating" based on estimated wind speeds and related damage. When tornado related damage is surveyed, it is compared to a list of damage indicators (DIs) and degrees of damage (DoD) which help estimate better the range of wind speeds the tornado likely produced. From that, a rating of EF0 to EF5 is assigned.

Fujita Scale



What to do after a tornado...

  • Stay Informed:Continue to listen to local news or a NOAA Weather Radio to stay updated about tornado watches and warnings. Multiple rounds of thunderstorms capable of producing tornadoes are possible during severe weather outbreaks.
  • Contact Your Family and Loved Ones: Let your family and close friends know that you’re okay so they can help spread the word. Text messages or social media are more reliable forms of communication than phone calls.
  • Assess the Damage: After the threat for tornadoes has ended, check to see if your property has been damaged. When walking through storm damage, wear long pants, a long-sleeved shirt, and sturdy shoes. Contact local authorities if you see power lines down. Stay out of damaged buildings. Be aware of insurance scammers if your property has been damaged.
  • Help Your Neighbor: If you come across people that are injured and you are properly trained, provide first aid to victims if needed until emergency response teams arrive.

Ralph Lowrey - Storm Spotting Manager

Ralph Lowrey is our Storm Spotting Manager. Ralph is a very experienced storm spotter and is always watching when storms roll into Pawnee County.

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