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How to Prepare for Severe Weather

More than ever it seems, the weather seems to be so unpredictable.

Just yesterday, it was beautiful all day. My daughter said hey, can we go to the pool club later. I was like hell ya’.

But by 3pm we were having a major storm filled with torrential downpours, thunder, and lightening.

With that of course comes flickering of lights and internet.

While we did not lose power yesterday, I am aware that I can lose power at anytime. This is why I took extra precautions to prepare for weather emergencies.

Understanding severe weather

Listen, meteorologists do their best to predict the weather. But as you know, they do not always get it right. How many times have you been excited about a beach weekend and see a sunny forecast only to have it rain the whole time? (Looking at you girls weekend in the Bahamas in 2017!)

They study patterns and history to determine what is going to happen or what is most likely to happen. They use science and data to make the best predictions they can.

The weather, though, plays by its own set of rules. It can’t always be predicted. Especially when it comes to severe weather.

In these cases, we may have a few days worth of warning or just a few minutes.  

Depending on the type of weather and where in the country we are will play a big part in the type of preparations you need to do. 

In this article, we will look at the various severe weather preparedness techniques and ideas that you should adopt right away.  To prepare in the event of a sudden, devastating weather pattern, could mean the difference between life and death. 

What is severe weather?

Severe Weather can be any storm or condition that causes stress, destruction as well as disruption of services that prevent you from living your normal day-to-day lives. 

Severe weather can be anything from heavy rainfall that produces areas of flooding, to earthquakes and hurricanes.  

These can cripple an entire city in a matter of moments. 

Preparing for severe weather should be something that we all do. However, you should know your area and the likelihood of the type of weather for that area.

You should also know what to expect, where to go, and what to do in the event of sudden weather attacks. 

Severe weather can be broken into categories, there are two main, broad categories:  

1. Warned weather are those we can see coming in advance which allows us time to prepare and get ready for. Warned severe weather includes conditions like hurricanes, heavy rainfall, snowfall or tsunamis.  

2. Instant weather is all those conditions we have little or no warning about. As a result, these can catch us unawares without the time to prepare.  These include weather conditions such as earthquakes, tornadoes and flash flooding. 

Know your location

Over 90 percent of your severe weather preparedness will come before the emergency conditions start happening.  

Part of that planning will be in knowing what to prepare for.

Any weather system can hit any part of the country at any time. But it is less likely to have a hurricane in Kansas or a tornado in upstate New York.

Knowing the major possible weather systems for where you live will aid in your preparedness. While it is a good rule always to prepare for any situation at any time, you can focus your severe weather preparedness on what is most likely to happen.

Severe weather preparedness

In the rare event that a large, Gulf hurricane is powerful enough to make it to Kansas, the preparations Kansas residents make for their more likely tornadoes will consequently aid them in preparation for the hurricane. 

Likewise, the west coast is far more likely to have earthquakes at any given time.

Still, earthquakes that cause structural damage and knock out power and water for a couple of days are not that uncommon in Texas and Oklahoma, either. 

Being prepared for everything at all times is near impossible. (Unless you build an underground bunker to live in regardless of conditions).  

Knowing your location and the most likely situations you will face by living there will go a long way in preparing you for the event when it comes. 

Consider if you live in an area that is prone to flooding for example. When the rainy season is about to hit, it is time to prepare for flooding conditions.

severe weather kit

Steps to take ahead of time

Before the weather hits (except in instant weather conditions) you should have a weather plan in place.

We know when the most likely time of year for heavy rain is and when most hurricanes will form and make landfall. 

You should prepare ahead of time and be ready for when the season approaches.

Hopefully, you will never have to use your preparations, but it will be nice to have them in the event that you do. 

When getting an emergency pantry stocked with food and water, plan for three days without power or running water. Also, multiply the amounts for each person that will be with you or likely to be with you in the event of an emergency. 

Sometimes, emergency conditions will last a few hours.

Sometimes they can last a week, or longer.

Having enough supplies to last everyone three days is a happy medium. Plus, this will cut down on waste, cost and storage space. 

The three most important things to prepare for

  • Lack of food and water
  • Lack of heating or cooling
  • Shelter

Food and fresh drinking water should be the top priority.

Having enough ready-to-eat food or dehydrated food will help you survive any conditions. You may not be able to cook during a power outage or flood.

Your house may be beyond repair after a storm, and you need to live in your car or at a campsite for a few days. Whatever the conditions or situation, food and water are always a top priority.

If you have time beforehand to prepare and stock a cabinet, you should get as much bottled water as possible. At least enough for each person to have three 8-ounce bottles per day. More water is always better, but storage and cost may prevent overstocking. 

Can and seal food to have a long shelf life. You can buy fresh foods if you like. But make sure they last longer even without refrigeration. Also, consume them first. Fruits and vegetables you can eat raw and will have a few days of shelf life without spoiling. 

If the heater or air conditioner is out, you need to maintain your body heat.  =Stocking enough clothing and blankets to use is crucial. If possible, store extra blankets and clothing in vacuum-sealed plastic bags. This will not only save on space but will keep them dry and fresh. Buy batteries in all sizes and store them with the emergency equipment, so they won’t get lost.

Battery operated radios and fans will keep the air circulating and information coming to you. Flashlights, radios, fans, portable heaters and other battery operated items will come in handy.

You can even get battery operated hot plates or propane stoves to cook food on. You should also stock your emergency cabinet with some type of shelter. One that will protect from wind, rain or snow.

A simple tent will store easily and isn’t difficult to assemble right away. It will provide a place to stay without getting wet in the rain or snow or if the need arises. It will also offer an area for privacy as well. 

Checking the aftermath

Once the severe weather threat is over, you should check your surroundings.

  • Open doors to check for damage on the other side.
  • Attempt to use electricity and check that you still have running water.
  • Expand your search room by room until the entire home has been evaluated, and then check outside.
  • Check entrances, including doors and windows.
  • Check cars including tires windows and see if it starts.

If anything on the house is damaged that can allow critters in or cause additional injury, it should be addressed. The other issues can wait until the area is safer and the community has more resources.

Finally, expand your search to your neighbors and neighborhood. Once everyone is accounted for, the cleanup process can begin. 

You will have your fresh water and food to get you through until emergency services can restore power and water. Eventually, because you were able to prepare, day to day life will get back to normal.

Then you can begin getting prepared for the next severe weather warning.

In Conclusion

Knowing that severe weather can strike anywhere and at any time should be enough to get you to prepare ahead of time for emergency conditions.  

You don’t want to be caught without food, water, or shelter, in the event of extreme damage to your power and water supply or your home. Stocking an emergency pantry with canned foods and water will aid you in getting through the situation.

Extra clothing, blankets, and portable fans as well as heaters, and flashlights along with the required batteries to operate them are definitely crucial to your survival. Knowing the most likely weather conditions for your location will give you an idea of what to prepare for.

You don’t want to be caught living in a tornado prone area and preparing for a blizzard. Plan ahead. Stay alert. Be prepared for anything.

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Becky is a wildlife enthusiast and pet and livestock care expert with a diploma in canine nutrition. With over a decade of experience in animal welfare, Becky lends her expertise to Simple Family Preparedness through insightful info about pets, livestock, bee keeping, and the practicalities of homesteading.

1 thought on “How to Prepare for Severe Weather”

  1. I always try to keep like tuna add fruit and vegetables raviolis anything I can open and eat cold. This was a very good article to read


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