Spring Preparedness

By Internal Communications Editor Brian Hale

The annual Spring Equinox officially marks the end of winter and the beginning of a new season, although Phil in Punxsutawney, Pennsylvania (that is, the Groundhog) commonly has his own opinion.

Snow begins to melt, temperatures begin to climb and Mother Nature begins producing some of her most ferocious fury. Thunderstorms producing massive hail, damaging winds and tornadoes can fire up without notice, especially in Texas which sits in the heart of Tornado Alley.

Being prepared for spring’s unpredictable weather can provide many potential life-saving advantages for yourself and your family. Being prepared and having a plan of what to do during a severe thunderstorm can offer peace of mind, save valuable time in finding shelter, and keep your family safe and healthy during power outages.

One of the best things you can do is to have a family plan of action. This may include where to go in your home during severe weather and what to have with you. The best places to congregate during a storm are in a basement, storm shelter or an interior room in your house as far away from windows as possible.

Should severe weather create tornadoes in your area, it is a good idea to have supplies on hand that can keep your family safe and healthy for many days. These items include plenty of bottled water and canned food, flashlights, extra batteries, a crank- or battery-powered radio, blankets, first aid supplies, dust masks, kennels for family pets, a two-way radio or walkie-talkie, and local emergency telephone numbers.

Keeping an updated supply of these items can offer peace of mind should severe weather suddenly occur without warning.

Although Texas frequently sees severe weather, other states are not immune to severe weather which can occur anywhere at any time during the spring and summer months. Residents living in the northeast do not experience tornadoes as often as residents in Tornado Alley, hurricanes can cause damaging winds and flooding rain that can warrant a need for shelter. Also, northeast residents commonly see severe weather during the winter months with blizzards and heavy snow.

Regardless of where you reside, severe weather is something to be taken seriously. A list of emergency contact information can be helpful throughout the year, whether dealing with tornadoes, hurricanes or blizzards.

Check out these websites which provide a lot of great information for staying prepared for severe weather during the spring and throughout the year:

www.ready.gov|
www.weather.com
www.fema.gov
www.spc.noaa.gov
www.nhc.noaa.gov