Lockdown: Tornado Warning


By: Megan McLaughlin

Around 11:30 AM today (Friday, March 18), Principal Sandra Prairie announced a weather lockdown for MSJ.  It was later learned that the lockdown was due to a tornado warning for Fremont. This has never happened before at the school, and students were held past the 11:55 AM release time until the all clear order came from the district.

Rumors quickly spread via cell phone as students wondered if the lockdown could be a result of radiation from Japan. That theory was put to rest as the wind picked up and rain began to pound. A glance out the windows of the B-wing showed trees whipping in the wind, and one parent reported debris hitting their car. The lockdown was lifted at 12:05, and as students exited classrooms, rain slanted down from the sky, rendering the overhangs useless.

The lockdown was a side effect of a tornado moving towards northern California. (The last time the Bay Area has a National Weather Service (NWS) tornado warning was in 1925). The 40 mph winds caused damage in Santa Rosa, and the storm moved inland past Oakland at 11:32 AM. It was headed towards the South Bay and San Jose, but weakened, so the NWS allowed the warning to expire.

However, strong weather continues in the Bay Area. The NWS has issued a Hazardous Storm Warning for the San Francisco Bay Area that will last through Sunday, March 20. The NWS expects “strong, damaging winds” that have the potential to cause floods and mudslides.

In the case of weather-related lockdowns, it is acceptable for students to use cell phones to communicate with their parents. Students may not use cell phones during any other type of lockdown. All FUSD schools underwent the lockdown, and parents were directed to the district website, www.fremont.k12.ca.us, for more information. Parents are urged to check the district website in the event of any future lockdown before coming to or calling the school.

Regular lockdown drills are held each year to practice procedures. MSJ’s latest drill was this past Wednesday during Read Period.

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