Natural disasters are an inescapable part of life, and in the United States, certain regions and seasons are more prone to specific disasters than others. Severe storms are a frequent and dangerous occurrence in regions such as Alabama, Mississippi, and Florida, particularly during the spring months (March, April, and May), as well as a secondary peak season in the fall (November through December). With approximately 2,000 thunderstorms occurring worldwide at any given moment, these storms can cause significant casualties and material losses. However, less than 1% of these are classified as "severe," defined by producing 1-inch hail or larger and/or strong wind gusts of 58mph or greater. In this blog, we will guide/walk you through the necessary steps to take before a severe storm, what to do when a storm occurs, and how to stay safe during these potentially dangerous weather events.
How to prepare before a severe storm
Preparation is key to ensuring safety and minimizing damage during a severe storm. The following steps/procedures must be taken to safeguard your safety, the safety of your family, and the safety of your property:
- Stay Informed About the Weather
Monitor local news channels, radio stations, and weather apps to stay updated on the storm's progress. This will help you know the severity of the storm, its potential impact, and when it is expected to hit your area.
- Create an Emergency Plan
Discuss and create an emergency plan with your family members, including where to meet if you get separated and how to communicate if phone lines are down. Ensure everyone knows the plan and what to do during a severe storm.
- Protect Your Home
Take steps to protect your house from potential damage. This may include securing outdoor furniture, trimming trees/branches that could fall on your house, and cleaning gutters to prevent water damage. Also, consider installing storm shutters or boarding windows to avoid broken glass.
- Know Your Evacuation Routes
Familiarize yourself with your local evacuation routes and shelters if you need to leave/evacuate your home immediately. Ensure your vehicle has a full gas tank and is in good working condition and keep a map of the area in your emergency kit.
- Safeguard Important Documents
Place important documents in waterproof containers or plastic bags, such as identification, insurance policies, and financial records. This will help protect them from potential water damage during the storm.
- Follow Instructions From Local Authorities
Pay close attention to instructions from local authorities, such as emergency management agencies and law enforcement. They will provide guidance on when it is safe to leave your shelter, whether you need to evacuate, and any other critical information to help keep you and your loved ones (family & friends) safe during a severe storm.
- Prepare an Emergency Kit
Put together an emergency kit with important/essential items like water, non-perishable food, flashlights, a first-aid kit, necessary medications and a power station. If you're on the market looking for a reliable backup power source, check out our Anker 757 Portable Power Station, a long-lasting portable power station designed for a 10-year lifespan. Utilizing our InfiniPower™ technology, LiFePO4 batteries, ultra-durable components, smart temperature control, and impact-resistant design, this power station is built to endure daily use. Enjoy peace of mind with our exceptional 5-year full-device warranty. Recharge rapidly with HyperFlash technology, reaching 80% capacity in just 1 hour. Offering a 1229Wh capacity and 1500W output, 2 AC ports, 4 USB-A ports, 2 USB-C ports, and a car outlet, the PowerHouse is perfect for powering essential devices and appliances during severe storms.
Remember to keep this kit in an easily accessible location to grab it quickly if needed.
What we should do when a severe storm occurs
- Stay away from windows, doors, and fireplaces when indoors. This is because these areas can be dangerous due to flying debris, broken glass, or sudden drafts caused by the storm.
- Go to the pre-selected sheltered area in your emergency plan. This is important as you and your family should have a designated safe space to take cover during a severe storm, such as a basement or an interior room without windows.
- Evacuate if advised by officials and bring your emergency kit. Following the guidance of local authorities is crucial for your safety. Make sure to have an emergency kit ready to take with you when evacuating.
- Use a cellular phone but avoid using a landline during the storm. While mobile phones are generally safe to use during a severe storm, landlines can be hazardous due to potential electrical surges or lightning strikes.
- If in a car, stop away from trees or power lines and stay put. When driving during a storm, find a safe place to stop your car, away from potential hazards such as falling trees/branches or power lines. Remain in the vehicle until the storm has passed.
- Never go boating during a storm and always check marine forecasts. Boating during a storm is extremely dangerous. If you are on the water already and see bad weather approaching, head for shore immediately. Always check marine forecasts before setting out and listen to weather updates throughout your trip.
In conclusion, taking the necessary steps to prepare for a severe storm is critical. It can help ensure the safety of you and your loved ones while minimizing the potential damage to your property. Stay informed, create an emergency kit, secure your home, have an evacuation plan, and check your insurance coverage. By doing so, you are taking proactive steps to protect yourself and your family from the devastating impacts of severe storms.
Here are some commonly asked queries on how to prepare for a severe storm.
What is a Severe storm?
A severe storm is a weather event characterized by strong winds, hail, and possibly tornadoes, which can cause significant damage and pose threats to life and property. A storm is deemed "severe" by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) when it generates hail that is at least 1" in diameter (about the size of a quarter), wind gusts of at least 58mph, and/or a tornado. These storms can be highly localized and intense, with a single thunderstorm potentially spanning 10 miles wide and reaching 50,000 feet in height.
Where is the safest place to be in a severe storm?
During a severe storm, the safest place to be is inside a large enclosed structure with plumbing and electrical wirings, such as shopping centers, schools, office buildings, and private residences. These buildings provide the best protection against the dangers of a thunderstorm, ensuring your safety and well-being.
How can I get the alert for a severe storm?
To receive alerts for severe storms, consider signing up for emergency alerts through your local government or weather service, downloading a weather app that sends notifications for severe weather, and purchasing a weather radio that broadcasts alerts for your specific area. Staying informed and having a plan in place during severe weather events is crucial for safety.
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