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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: warned and instant. 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. Instant weather, on the other hand, 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 preplanning 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. Steps To Be Taken Ahead of Time Before the weather hits (except in instant weather conditions) you should plan to prepare. 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. The first step is to plan for at least three days without resources. 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 are:
- Lack of food and water.
- Lack of heating or cooling.
Food and fresh drinking water should be the top priority. Having enough ready-to-eat 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. Entrances, including doors and windows, you should also check. If they have damages, you should repair or cover them to prevent animals or others from getting inside. Check your cars as well. Double check the tires and glass to ensure the car is still able to be driven. 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.
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.