Texas doesn't have a single Severe Weather Season, but spring is when we shift focus from cold weather hazards to storms. Severe weather happens year round and across the country. Since 2003, tornadoes have occurred in 43 states – including our area in December. Thunderstorm warnings were issued in 49 states with lightning strikes recorded in every state. The time to prepare to weather any storm is now.
Start your spring cleaning by building or restocking your family emergency kit. Replace anything you used during the winter. Check expiration dates on consumable items like food, water, batteries and medications and replace anything expired or about to expire. These items should be rotated or replaced on a regular basis to keep your emergency kit in the best condition possible when you need it most. Have supplies on hand to last at least 72 hours.
Create your family plan for staying safe in the event of severe weather. Update your contact lists to make sure you can communicate easily in an emergency. If you're outside and hear the Outdoor Warning System or get an Emergency Alert on your mobile device or radio – get inside immediately! Take shelter in the nearest building or sturdy structure away from windows. If you're in your home, office, or other facility, find the nearest safe area.
Safe areas include:
- Basements or storm shelters
- Lowest levels of a building without windows
- Bathrooms, stairwells, or closets – making sure there are no hazards near them such as water heaters or windows
Once you've identified your safe area, make sure you have everything you need:
- Emergency kit
- NOAA weather radio and batteries
- Cell phones (with chargers – regular and battery powered)
- Pillows or mattresses to protect you from flying debris
- Important personal documents and cash
As we see with many disasters, it's easy to lose pets in storms. They're just as frightened as you are and are trying to find shelter. Keep your pets with you during severe weather. Consider microchipping your pet and keep that information current so if they are separated from you, you can be reunited as quickly as possible.
By being prepared, your family can weather any severe weather event. Go to our Get Prepared and Get Informed tabs for more information on kits, plans, and safety tips for severe weather and other hazards. Sign up for alerts & learn more about warnings on our website. Follow us on Twitter and Facebook for tips and updates.