In the spring, temperatures can swing back and forth between balmy and frigid. Sunny days may be followed by a week of stormy weather. Sometimes extreme weather changes can occur even within the same day.
Thunderstorms cause most of the severe spring weather. They can bring lightning, tornadoes and flooding. Because spring weather is so unpredictable, you may be unprepared when severe weather hits—and when severe weather hits unexpectedly, the risk of injury and death increases. So planning ahead makes sense; prepare for storms, floods, and tornadoes as if you know in advance they are coming, because in the spring, they very likely will.
Advance planning for thunderstorms, lightning, tornadoes and floods requires specific safety precautions. Still, you can follow many of the same steps for all extreme weather events. You may want to have on hand:
A battery-operated flashlight, a battery-operated National Oceanic and Atmospheric Weather Radio, and extra batteries for both
An emergency evacuation plan, including a map of your home and, for every type of severe weather emergency, routes to safety from each room
A list of important personal information, including
Telephone numbers of neighbors, family and friends
Insurance and property information
Telephone numbers of utility companies
A first aid kit may include
Assortment of adhesive bandages
Sterile gauze pads in assorted sizes
Absorbent compress dressings
Adhesive cloth tape
Aspirin packets (81 milligrams each)
First aid instruction booklet
Personal hygiene items
Blankets or sleeping bags
An emergency kit in your car
Customize your first aid kit to meet your individual and family needs. Important documents, phone numbers and medical information can be scanned and saved to a thumb drive and kept in a safe place off site from your home.
Prepare your family members for the possibility of severe weather. Tell them where to seek appropriate shelter as soon as they are aware of an approaching storm. Practice your emergency plan for every type of severe weather. Show family members where the emergency supplies are stored, and make sure they know how to turn off the water, gas, and electricity in your home.
Unfortunately, few of us get much advance notice of a severe weather event. Often by the time we are aware of an approaching storm, we have little if any time to prepare for it. But we do know that when spring arrives, thunderstorms, tornadoes, and floods are real possibilities. So why not take the surprise factor out of severe weather and prepare yourself, your family, and your home? Of course, you may not have to deal with extreme weather this spring, but if thunderstorms, tornadoes and floods do occur, you'll be ready for them.