Severe Weather Awareness Week Poster Contest Winners Announced

RELEASE DATE: Mar 15, 2021

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Gov. Pete Ricketts signed a proclamation declaring March 21-25 as Nebraska Severe Weather Awareness Week, a time to remind Nebraskans that community preparedness can minimize the dangers of the annual severe weather season to the lives and property of Nebraskans. In addition, NEMA Assistant Director Erv Portis has announced the winners of the annual Severe Weather Awareness Contest. The winning and honorable mention posters will be featured in NEMA’s 2022 Severe Weather Awareness Calendar.

First Place: Sophie Rakes, 8, Southern Public Schools, Blue Springs, Gage County

“What to Do During a Tornado Tips”

Second Place Mary White, 9, Gretna Elementary School, Gretna, Sarpy County

“Be Prepared Storms Pop Up Anywhere”

Third Place Abigail Strilkivsky, 9, Fredstrom Elementary School, Lincoln, Lancaster County

“What to Do v. What Not to Do During a Tornado”

Fourth Place Morgan Ebel, 9, Creighton Community School, Creighton, Knox County

“Be Ready, Be Safe, Go Inside Just in Case”

Honorable Mention

Hayden Christensen, 9, Prairie Queen Elementary School, Papillion, Sarpy County

Addison Dimmitt, 9, Fredstrom Public Schools, Lincoln, Lancaster County

Cora Dobbe, 8, Loveland Elementary School, Omaha, Douglas County

Avery Mader, 9 , 1R Elementary School, Grand Island, Hall County

Violet Pavlik, 8, Verdigre Elementary, Verdigre, Knox County

Olivia Placke, 9 Centura Public School, Cairo, Howard County

Ezra Tanner, 9, Fredstrom Elementary School, Lincoln, Lancaster County

Zayd Wortuan, 9, Wynot Elementary School, Wynot, Cedar County

“We want all Nebraskans to take some time during Severe Weather Awareness Week to prepare for spring and summer severe weather,” Portis said. “The devastating impacts of extreme events can be reduced through improved readiness. Make a safety plan, create a preparedness kit and review proper safety precautions. It’s just a good practice for those of us who live in areas affected by tornadoes, floods and severe thunderstorms.”

For more information on severe weather awareness, or preparing for severe weather, visit

Gov. Pete Ricketts, center back, holds the Severe Weather Awareness Week Proclamation for March 21-25. Poster contest winners were also honored at the ceremony on Monday. Pictured, front Row, from left, Sophie Rakes, first place; Mary White, second; Abigail Strilkivsky, third,  and  Morgan Ebel, fourth. Also pictured are emergency managers Laura Hintze of Knox County, Nic Kemnitz of Wayne County, James Davidsaver of Lancaster County, Jesse Eret of Sarpy County, Gov. Ricketts, NEMA Assistant Director Erv Portis, National Weather Service Meteorologist Brian Smith and Lisa Wiegand of Gage County. The contest is sponsored by NEMA, Nebraska Association of Emergency Management, National Weather Service and Nebraska National Guard.