hen it comes to rowdy weather, we seem to have it all figured out by region: earthquakes in California, tornadoes in Kansas, hurricanes in Florida, and whiteouts in Maine, right? How, then, do we account for recent phenomena like snow in SoCal, a first-time-ever hurricane off the coast of Brazil, and Oklahoma's new distinction as the US's most earthquake prone state? As we prepare for the unexpected, why is it so hard to know what to expect?
The answer is that Mother Nature refuses to be figured out. She regularly breaks patterns, records, and electrical grids; and her only truly reliable feature is her unpredictability. (Now that I think about it, in some ways she's a lot like my two year-old. Only with a little less applesauce in her hair.)
While meteorologists and seismologists puzzle over the whys and wherefores, for the rest of us, the biggest question regarding the prospect of a natural disaster is something more along the lines of, "How do I not die?"
Good question. For our money, the best way to stay on our toes when Mother Nature is feeling capricious is to prepare for a range of circumstances. Have a fire escape plan and a tsunami evacuation route; know how to secure windows for a hurricane and protect pipes against a freeze; teach kids where to hunker down in an earthquake and where to run to in a tornado.
Most natural disasters have a specific set of recommended safe practices (check out Ready.gov's disaster specific tips sheets), and we don't want to confuse advice like `stay low in a fire,' and 'stay high in a flood.' Other preparations, however, are not only common to any disaster, but also vital. Here are three that could save your family, no matter what Mother Nature throws your way.
We all know where "Tornado Alley" is. Or do we? This map shows that tornados occur just about anywhere they choose.
Store food. Have we mentioned this before? Once or twice? Whether you're an advanced practitioner, with an extensive and neatly catalogued food storage, or a student with a couple of cans of chili under your bed, you need to consider how to access your stash in a hurry. Most organizations recommend keeping 72 hours worth of food handy. You could pull from your storage and make sure you have enough for each family member for three days in some kind of easily accessible pack. Or you could look into pre-packaged kits, like our Premium 4-Person 72-Hour Food Bucket.
So, while this February the Rocky Mountains are enjoying 60° afternoons and Tennessee schools are closed due to icy roads, don’t be outsmarted by that shifty Mother Nature character. The facts are, tornados do strike in Salt Lake City, and Oklahomans will likely feel at least three tremors today. Who knows what’s in store for the rest of the country? Prepare for nature’s curveballs by keeping the basics on hand!