Mid-April to mid-June is the primary severe weather season for the Texas Panhandle. While thunderstorms can bring much needed moisture to our region, they can also bring heavy rains, damaging hail, deadly lightning, high winds, and the potential for destructive tornadoes. Preparedness is the key to ensuring you are ready for severe weather season…
- Make a Plan: Take time to think through how you will respond to a severe weather threat. You should avoid going outside when severe thunderstorms threaten because of the many hazards associated with these powerful storms. To prepare for the threat of a tornado, identify a location where you and your family will take shelter when a warning is issued. Storm shelters or basements are the best locations, but if you don’t have access to these a small interior room on the lowest floor without windows is your best alternative. Manufactured homes and vehicles are not safe locations and you need to have another location identified. If you have to take shelter, covering yourself with pillows, blankets, and even wearing a helmet increases your protection should your location be impacted. Plan ahead not just at home, but also at work, school, church, and any location that you frequent so you will be prepared to take action.
- Build a Kit: National guidelines recommend individuals and families have a 72 hour supply of food, water, medications, and other emergency supplies as a baseline for a disaster supply kit. Your disaster kit should also include other items, such as important documents, prescriptions, medical supplies, and a first aid kit.
- Stay Informed: One of the most important things you can do is stay informed of potential or on-going emergency situations. One of the best tools available is the NOAA All-Hazards Weather Radio system operated by the National Weather Service in conjunction with local emergency management. In the event of a Severe Thunderstorm or Tornado Warning, the NOAA All-Hazards Weather Radio system is activated on a county level to alert you and your family to the weather situation. In addition, local television and radio, outdoor warning sirens, smart-phone applications, Suddenlink cable cut-in system, and other systems are available to alert you to severe weather. Having multiple means to receive warnings of an emergency will ensure that you have as much advanced notice as possible. Always remember, when a warning is issued, take action immediately to protect yourself and your family.
Preparedness is the key to communities successfully weathering a disaster. Individuals and families that make a plan, build a kit, and stay informed will be prepared and minimize the impacts of potential disaster situations. Additional preparedness information can be found throughout our webpage or through FEMA at http://www.ready.gov/.