Severe Winter Storm Preparation: Are You Ready?Wise Blog Team
During Christmas week 2015, tornadoes, severe storms, and flooding impacted the holidays for millions of people in states including Alabama, Arkansas, Illinois, Mississippi, Missouri, Oklahoma, Tennessee, and Texas. People were reminded of the powerful toll severe weather can wreak, with nature causing loss of life in multiple states. Depending on the region of the country where you live, winter can bring severe blizzards, ice storms, sleet and freezing rain, rainstorms, flash floods, thunderstorms, and even tornadoes.
Experts say that community sirens are not enough to warn residents about impending severe weather because they are often not loud enough to rouse one from a deep sleep. Instead, they recommend the following resources to stay updated on severe weather warnings.
Weather Alert Resources
- A weather alert radio
- Wireless emergency alerts (usable on smartphones and tablets)
- Weather alert apps (usable on smartphones and tablets)
- TV and radio broadcasts
- Online sources
National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) weather alert radios can be programmed to issue a tone alarm and provide information about a warning in a specific county. The radios can be programmed to issue 24/7 alarms, even during overnight hours when most people are sleeping.
Severe Weather Kits
Depending on the climate you live in, you will want to customize the kit you have on hand for weather emergencies. If you live in Florida, for instance, you likely won’t need snow supplies, but if you live in any Northern or Mountain states, these are essential components of any winter weather emergency kit. Here is a list of basic supplies, courtesy of the Illinois Emergency Management Agency (IEMA).
- Flashlight with extra batteries.
- First aid kit with assorted sterile bandages and gauze pads, antiseptic, latex gloves, tweezers, scissors, soap, disposable hand wipes, and thermometer.
- Home emergency preparedness kit stocked with a three-day supply of bottled water and non-perishable food, battery-powered radio, weather radio and flashlights with extra batteries, shut-off wrench (to turn off household gas and water), manual can opener, and fire extinguisher.
- Vehicle preparedness kit stocked with a flashlight with extra batteries, first aid kit, water, non-perishable snacks, blankets, windshield scraper and brush, booster cables, bag of sand or cat litter, tool kit, and shovel.
In addition to the above tips, it is always a good idea to have a contingency plan in place. Identify a safe place to go if power or heat goes out during storms, as well as a few people you can rely on. This is even more crucial for individuals with chronic health and mobility issues. Having a personal network set up is as integral to surviving severe weather as having all the right supplies on hand.