Spring weather is often unpredictable, so it is very important to be prepared when severe weather, of any kind, strikes.
Even though the groundhog said a little over a week ago that there would be 6 more weeks of winter, spring will be here before we know it.
For those up north especially, I know some of you are breathing a sigh of relief.
But with the warmer weather, sprouting flowers and all that comes with spring, there is one thing you may forget about: spring severe weather.
When the seasons start to change, cold air mixes with warm air and become more favorable for super cell storms which can spawn tornadoes.
This causes instability in the atmosphere which wreaks havoc throughout tornado alley and basically anywhere.
This instability also causes severe thunderstorms, some with straight line damaging winds, hail & sometimes deadly lightening, and flooding.
Tornadoes are the worse of these, so we will focus a little more on them in this article, but keep in mind that severe thunderstorms with straight line winds are often mistaken for tornadoes because they can cause just as much damage.
Spring weather is unpredictable, so it is a good idea to make sure you are prepared.
Tornado alley is the area where most tornadoes occur, but that don’t mean they won’t happen elsewhere.
Every continent on the planet except Antarctica has reported tornadoes.
So don’t think it won’t happen to you because it could.
Matter of fact, a tornado hit within a half mile of my home a few years back. I knew the risks and was prepared in case it were to happen, but many people weren’t.
We had no damage ourselves but we did lose power for about 30 hours.
And once a tornado hit about 30 minutes from my house and within 24 hours in was snowing.
It is a good idea to invest in a good weather radio. This will alert you when a tornado warning is issued, even in the middle of the night. The tornado that hit a half mile from my house happened around 4 in the morning. My weather radio had went off and I was up and able to monitor the situation and wake up my family to get them into a safe place.
You also need to have a safe place to get in case a tornado were to hit in your area.
If you are in a mobile home, it is better to get somewhere safer as quickly as possible. Sometimes you have a fair amount of time to get somewhere safe but sometimes the warning don’t go out until it’s fixing to hit. If you have the time, get somewhere safe. Do not try to go anywhere if it is supposed to hit your area soon.
Basements are a great option but not every home has one. If you don’t have a basement, you can get in a hallway with all the doors shut around you. Closets are also good if they are in the middle part of your home but shut the door. And if all else fails, get in a bathtub or turn a sofa on its side and get up under it as we used to do in the old days.
If a tornado or winds do get bad enough, cover your heads with something like a hard back book to shield from debris. Parents often use their children’s bicycle helmet or football helmet for their kids to wear.
Keep a good flashlight or battery powered lantern wherever your safe spot is. This way when a warning hits, you can immediately get into your safe spot. Keep your emergency kit (we will talk a little more about this on down) in this spot as well.
If you are on the road and a tornado warning happens, get to a sturdy building as quickly as possible. Truck stops, gas stations, restaurants and business offices are better than being on the road.
If you can you see the tornado on the ground or producing damage, take cover in a ditch or low spot. Cover your head with a blanket from your vehicle if you have one or your hands in you have to.
Never take cover under an overpass because the winds winds are actually higher in these openings and debris can still hurt you.
All thunderstorms can be dangerous. Any time you hear thunder, lightening is involved. But severe thunderstorms are the most dangerous.
A severe thunderstorm has either an inch or larger diameter in hail, winds greater than 57.5 mph or the potential for a tornado to spawn from it.
As I said before, severe thunderstorms can cause just as much damage as a tornado. Winds near 60 mph and over cab knock down trees, power lines and mobile homes.
Hail can break windows, mess up your roof, damage cars, boats, and sheds, and even kill livestock.
And lightening can severely hurt and even kill you and cause fires in your home or land from the lightening strikes.
If a severe thunder storm is coming, get inside a sturdy building or your home. Do not take shelter under a tree. If you are on a boat, get off the water as quickly as possible.
Also, do not take a shower or bath during a thunderstorm or use a landline phone. Get off laptops and computers. These are susceptible to getting struck by lightening and can hurt you. Actually anything electrical can get struck.
Did you know that flooding kills more people every year than hurricanes do? Floods are the most common and widespread of all weather-related natural disasters. For instance nearly 40% of at least nearly 1,000 people in Louisiana who died during Katrina died from drowning according to the DataCenterResearch.org.
There two different types of floods. Flash flood warnings and flood warnings mean two different things. A flash flood means it is already happening and it’s more immediate and can happen with little or no warning. This makes flash flooding more dangerous.
A flood warning means it will last a while basically and can be predicted beforehand.
If you are placed under a flood warning, move to higher ground. Go to a high elevation. If you are not able to get to a higher elevation, go to a second floor or the roof in the flood is bad enough. Call for help to be rescued if possible.
Do not try to drive threw flood waters. It doesn’t take much water for a disaster to happen!
What You Can Do Now To Prepare For Severe Weather
First of all, you can build a natural disaster emergency kit. You can buy these premade with all you need for 3 days. If you want a more customized kit, then consider making your own using our very own severe weather checklist.
Or you can make your own complete bug out bag. This is great to have in case your home is damaged and you have to leave. Think of it as just a bigger, better emergency kit.
In your emergency kit you should have all the basics you need to keep you and your family safe for an extended period of time.
Store it in a place that is easy to get to or better yet in your safe spot. Let everyone in your home know where your emergency and survival gear is located and make a plan on what to do in severe weather with your family in case it happens when you are not home.
Also, keep your gutters cleaned and as much stuff put up from your yard that could easily blow around. Secure larger object if you can. Keep dead limbs trimmed off trees and take down any dead trees that are around your home and property.
Severe weather is something that you need to prepare for. It could happen anytime during the year and anywhere. Spring time is the most common.
With some easy preparations, you can be ready for any type weather.