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Springtime Severe Weather Preparedness
By the RestorationSOS Educational Staff
Warm winters typically fuel very active spring time weather systems. The time to start preparing for some of the random and severe thunderstorms and other natural activities that may be in store is before the spring temperatures hit. There are typically a lot of changes in the weather during Spring, with temperatures going back and forth between very cold and very warm, sunny mornings giving way to stormy afternoons; severe swings in the weather are the hallmark of the spring months.
Thunderstorms are the usual culprits when it comes to springtime and severe weather. Storms cause lightning, flooding, and in the worst cases, tornadoes. These are the result of warm moist air colliding with cool dry air, a pattern that begins in spring and may last through the summer.
Since the springtime weather is so unpredictable, it is easy to get caught off guard, especially if you live in an area that isnít known for tornadoes or flooding. Any time severe weather hits unexpectedly, the chances of injury or even fatalities goes up considerably.
Safety Tips for Severe Weather
In order to remain safe, pay attention. Monitor the local weather forecasts. Most area meteorologists do a very good job at keeping us informed of rapidly changing weather conditions. Television radar broadcasts are now so precise that they can narrow down to an area of just a mile or so to examine conditions, which is beneficial since many springtime storms may be heavily concentrated in one small area.
If warnings are sounded, either for tornadoes or strong storm conditions, have a place in your home to go, preferably in the basement. Have some blankets, bottled water, and a radio or TV so you arenít completely cut off from the world. It's better to seek shelter sooner rather than later; in the event of a tornado, by the time you hear the telltale train-like rushing noise, it may be too late to get to safety.
Even if tornadoes aren't involved, remain inside. Strong winds can still knock you off your feet, and people are killed by trees uprooted by the wind every year. Some of these storms can also produce golf ball-sized hail, which can cause injury if you get struck in the head or face. Vehicles should also be moved inside if possible to protect from hail damage (which can run in the thousands of dollars of bodywork).
Lightning is also a very dangerous element of sudden spring storms. If you should find yourself caught outside where lightning is present, stay away from open water such as lakes or ponds, and do not take shelter under isolated trees or telephone poles. You should also avoid hilltops or any open areas, as lightning seeks the highest point to strike and work its way to the ground. Also, avoid wire fences, clotheslines, or holding any kind of metal in your hand.
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