Be prepared when severe weather hits in your community

Published 11:12 am Tuesday, February 27, 2024

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This week is being observed as Severe Weather Preparedness Week across Tennessee and the nation. Locally, we have been spared extreme weather this winter – no major ice or snow storms, no long-term freezing weather, etc.

Weather this time of year is unpredictable. For example, the forecast for Wednesday (today) is warm temperatures – in the low 70s followed by temperatures dropping into the 30s and SNOW!

Spring can be a guessing story when it comes to the weather. 

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But spring means more than just blue skies and the emergence of leaves on trees and flowers’ bloom. Spring also brings the possibility of severe weather.

Regardless of where you find yourself when severe weather hits, there are a number of things you can do to prepare beforehand.

The first thing is to be weather aware.

Pay attention to the forecast because meteorologists give us advance notice of the possibility of severe weather days in advance.

Maybe your favorite television show is interrupted by weather coverage and you have no choice, but even if that’s not the case, it’s also useful to watch TV news as the severe weather event happens.

If you’re not one for TV coverage, make sure you have a way to get warnings, like NOAA weather radios or weather apps.

Also, if you rely on a cellphone, don’t forget to turn “do not disturb settings” off if there’s a weather threat – many times those come on automatically, and they could silence an important warning in the middle of the night.

Have a plan about where to go, whether that’s an interior room of your house, a neighbor or family member’s house or a community shelter.

If you go to a community shelter, wear a mask and take hand sanitizer and disinfecting wipes with you. COVID, the flu, and other respiratory illnesses are still with us.

You can also plan ahead for the storm’s aftermath, which might include power outages, with flashlights, batteries and canned food.

Have a preparedness plan. At the end of the day, true severe weather preparedness requires a plan. We know that the last thing we need right now is something else to worry about, but nature doesn’t put things on hold for mankind and being prepared can help give some peace of mind.

Secure loose items outside of your home. Outdoor furniture can be blown away and cause additional damage to your home. This includes lawn equipment, chairs, tables, or other debris that may be blown against your home.

Make a family emergency plan and have a conversation with your loved ones about the importance of being prepared. Practice your disaster response plans at least twice a year. Regular drills help everyone learn the safety procedures for severe weather like storms, flash floods, and damaging winds, and they let you test and tweak your plan so you can be better prepared in a real emergency. 

Be prepared…March can be rather tricky when it comes to the weather.