How to Prepare for Severe Weather

Have a plan.

The early summer months are the perfect time to go outside and enjoy the warmer weather.

But for much of the country, late spring and early summer also bring a heightened risk of severe weather.

According to data from the National Weather Service, tornado occurrence peaks from April to June for most of the country. The same systems that bring tornadoes can also bring thunderstorms, hail, and flooding, all of which pose a significant risk.

Knowing each risk associated with these dangerous weather systems and being prepared for each can literally mean the difference between life and death. Before severe weather can strike, follow these steps to help keep your family safe.

1. Know what dangers to expect.

Different storms bring different dangers. Preparing for the devastating winds of a tornado is a good plan, but those plans do little in the event of a flash flood.

Be aware of what to expect. Tornadoes and thunderstorms can bring strong, damaging winds and sometimes hail. Of course, floods bring rapidly rising water around your property, which in some extreme cases can lift a house off its foundation.

2. Have a plan.

Create a plan for all weather events, including tornadoes, floods, and thunderstorms. Clearly communicate your plan for sheltering or evacuation to all members of your household. Walking through the plan step by step and exercising a drill can also help commit the plan to memory.

For tornadoes and strong thunderstorms, stay inside and get to the lowest, innermost point in your home, avoiding windows and exterior walls.

For floods, get to high ground and avoid using electrical or gas appliances. Be prepared to evacuate if instructed by local authorities but be extremely careful. You’ll want to avoid coming into contact with floodwater, as the water is likely rapidly moving and could also be contaminated—do not try to swim or drive through a flooded area.

3. Are you supplied?

No matter how long a shelter or evacuation order may last, making sure your household is stocked with supplies is imperative.

Keep plenty of supplies on hand and readily accessible. This includes first aid, water, non-perishable food, a flashlight, batteries, and more. Visit Ready.gov for a complete list of what should go into your emergency preparedness kit.

4. Stay informed.

In the event of severe weather, make sure you’re aware of the potential risks you and your family are faced with. This means keeping track of storms through TV, internet, social media, or weather-tracking apps.

However, outages to power, cellular service, and internet can limit your ability to stay informed. For such cases, have a battery-powered or hand crank radio or a NOAA Weather Radio on hand.

5. Review your insurance policy.

Before severe weather can strike, be sure to take a look at your homeowners insurance to ensure you’ll be covered in the event of catastrophic damage to your property.

Many people don’t know that floods are not covered by a typical homeowners policy and need to have additional coverage to protect them. If you live in an area that is prone to flooding, flood insurance is a must. Contact your agent and make sure you’re covered.

How do you prepare for severe weather? Let us know in the comments!

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