|A little planning can help you weather the harshest storms°™no matter the season
Preparation is the key to storm safety.
Sure, every cloud has a silver lining. But depending on the time of year, it may also harbor a thunderstorm or blizzard. Understanding foul weather risks and preparing for them effectively can reduce the dangers caused by seasonal storms.
Snow, sleet and freezing rain are always inconvenient, but when coupled with strong winds and extreme cold, they require special caution. A severe winter storm can close roads, shut down municipal services and utilities, ice over driveways and walkways, and even freeze pipes. Following these tips will help protect your home and family from icy blasts.
Stay indoors. Most winter storm injuries are the result of automobile accidents or hypothermia and frostbite resulting from being stranded outdoors.
Winterize your home. This includes installing storm windows, caulking and weather-stripping doors and windows, and insulating attics, walls and pipes.
Leave faucets dripping to help prevent pipes from freezing.
Have safe emergency heaters available. Check smoke detectors and follow safety guidelines for emergency heaters.
Keep rock salt on hand to melt ice on steps and walkways. Cat litter scattered on icy patches reduces the chance of slipping.
Some parts of the country never have to worry about blizzards and ice storms, but no one can ignore the threat of lightning, high winds, and torrential rains. They are most common on spring and summer evenings, but thunderstorms can develop any time of day and in any season. And while most are localized (about 15 miles in diameter), they wreak millions of dollars in property damage each year. Most storm damage is caused by large hail, lightning, flash floods and straight-line winds that can gust to more than 100 miles per hour. When ill winds start blowing in your area, follow these guidelines.
Pay attention to weather reports and listen for Severe Thunderstorm Watches (conditions are right for a storm) and Severe Thunderstorm Warnings (a storm has been spotted or shown up on radar). Recognize where the storm is and if you are in its path.
Cover your windows. Windblown objects can shatter windows, but draperies, blinds and shades may keep glass from flying into rooms.
Turn off the air conditioner to protect it from lightning damage and power surges.
Select a place in your home (away from windows, skylights and glass doors) where the family can wait out storms together.
Avoid using the telephone except in case of an emergency. Do not take a bath or shower. Telephone lines and metal pipes conduct electricity and can be a lightning risk.
If flooding is possible, move to higher ground.
Safety Supply Checklist
Summer or winter, keep these items on hand in case you are without electricity or stranded by a storm:
Food items that do not require refrigeration or cooking (Don't forget the manual can opener.)
Extra blankets or sleeping bags
Fire extinguisher and first aid kit
Seven-day supply of prescription medications
Source: U.S. Federal Emergency Management Agency