By Desiree Morris, Blogger of the Month for April
Kansas is known for being in the heart of Tornado Alley. If you haven’t started preparing for severe weather season, then I recommend you should! If you’re new to Kansas, severe weather season peaks from March until June. That doesn’t mean where we live isn’t prone to severe weather any other time of the year. Severe weather can and will happen at any time. I’ve experienced tornado warnings in fall!
It doesn’t mean you shouldn’t live here. Kansas is a wonderful state with breathtaking views. All you have to be is prepared. Since the Joplin Tornado I have made it a personal mission of mine to help others prepare for severe weather. Today I wanted to share a few tips.
1. Own a weather radio. Having a weather radio can be a lifesaver in a life-threatening situation. It can be used in all weather situations: snow storms, hurricanes, and severe weather included. Weather radios pick up the National Weather Service’s All Hazards Broadcasts directly from your nearest NWS office. Where I live, I receive broadcasts from the National Weather Service in Springfield, Missouri. I’ve had instances where weather radios have announced a tornado warning before the sirens are sounded. Those few seconds of warning can save your life. A weather radio will also let you know when the warning has expired.
2. Sign up for weather alerts on your mobile phone. Utilize weather alerts on your mobile phone. I actually recommend having both. If your power goes out you may still have cell phone service. This can be crucial for finding out important information. Does your favorite meteorologist have a Facebook or Twitter? Follow them! Social media has changed how we receive them.
3. Create a plan! Whether it’s seeking shelter in an interior room or basement you need to have a plan of action when severe weather strikes. Don’t have a basement? Go to a sturdy, wind0wless room like a closet or a bathroom. If you don’t have anywhere safe, then talk with your neighbors. Our neighbors let us use their tornado shelter any time the weather prompts a tornado warning. We had to do this last year. Conduct practice drills when the weather is nice outside so you can be prepared in a severe weather event.
4. Build a disaster supply kit. FEMA has a helpful page on how to create a Disaster Supply Kit. Any time there is severe weather around, take your disaster supply kit to your safety area earlier in the day. That way, all you have to worry about is getting to your safe place as quickly as possible if a warning is issued. I build a supply kit with an extra diaper bag. I keep a couple days’ worth of supplies and first aid supplies with me in case something were to happen.
Photo by Erin O’Donnell
6. Don’t go outside. Stay indoors. Seriously. Just because you can’t see severe weather when a severe thunderstorm warning is announced, it doesn’t mean that there isn’t severe weather. This isn’t the time to go outside & take photos unless, of course, you are a trained storm chaser. People have been injured attempting to get that perfect shot. It isn’t work the risk. Did you know severe weather is often accompanied by lots of lightning, heavy rain, high winds, and damaging hail, and it can produce tornadoes? That’s why if you’re outside you need to find shelter immediately.
Hopefully these tips will help better prepare you for when severe weather hits your area. What are some of your favorite ways of being prepared for severe weather? Share them below!
Desiree Morris is a stay-at-home mom + stepmom, blogger, and tornado survivor. She writes about a little bit of everything as The Miracle Momma.