Tag Archives: storms

  • Mom's 5 Tips for Weathering Thunderstorms

    Mom's 5 Tips for Weathering Thunderstorms

    To this day, I love a good thunderstorm. I think it’s because when I was little, my family would gather in our screened-in porch and watch the clouds roll in. We’d drink punch and eat popcorn, and we’d huddle together to listen to and watch for the cracks, booms, and bolts in the sky. I would smell the wet heat rising from the pavement, and I would wish, wish, wish that the power would go out. I wanted that cozy, let’s-huddle-together feeling to last even after the clouds had rolled away.

    Now that I’m a parent, I realize that my happy childhood feelings about thunderstorms were made possible because my parents were prepared for whatever storms might bring—and whatever they might leave behind. I recently checked in with my mom to get her insights on how to prepare for this kind of sudden, potentially serious stormy weather.

    Mom’s 5 Tips for Weathering Thunderstorms:

    1. Weather gear. My mom reminded me that it’s a good idea to have certain items on hand that will make weathering the actual storm itself a comfortable, less wet experience. Ponchos, raincoats, galoshes, umbrellas, long johns, and thick wool socks can make rainy seasons (and puddle stomping) downright enjoyable. Also, they can help protect you from getting too wet and cold, which can be helpful if stormy weather turns into power outages, and you don’t have an easy way to get yourself warm and dry.

    2. Windows. The first thing to do when storms are coming is to close your windows—especially the ones you don’t usually think about or see (basement windows, garage windows, etc.). This alone can prevent a lot of unnecessary seepage.

    3. The light and the bucket. My mom says that a smart person once told her to put a working flashlight right near her bed, so even in the middle of the night, she wouldn’t have to go fumbling around storage closets or bins to find the things she would need in the dark.

    She says it’s an even better idea to fill a plastic bucket with all of the first things you’ll need when the power goes out (e.g., flashlight, battery-powered or hand-cranked radio, batteries), and store it someplace easy to remember and easy to reach. If both the light and the bucket are ready to go and easily accessible, you’ll have sucked the scariness right out of the first moments of a power outage, and you’ll be ready to find your emergency gear without much hassle.

    4. Power. If the storm is serious, you may lose power. There are lots of workarounds for this, but the most important thing is that you’ve thought about it in advance and are ready to go. My mom’s preferred cooking device is a sterno-powered foldable camping stove similar to the Single Burning Folding Stove. With this and a can opener on hand, warm meals are easy to prepare.

    She points out that also having a fireplace and marshmallows can turn an otherwise dismal blackout into a fun family event. (Note to self: Keep marshmallows on hand for emergency purposes. And punch. And popcorn.)

    5. Floods. If the rain comes down too quickly or for too long—or both—flooding is a real possibility. My mom’s number one tip is to keep your gutters clean. Clogged gutters can make flooding much worse than it might otherwise be; but, if gutters are clear and able to do their jobs, they can direct excess water to places it should go (like away from the house).

    If the storm is forecasted to be a big one, sand bagging areas of potential weakness can be helpful. Also, putting up cellophane and caulking around garage doors adds an extra layer of protection. Having your burner or furnace installed on blocks can prevent you from losing them at a critical time. Likewise, taking everything off the floor can keep most of your stuff safe and dry. Mold is a real problem, so be sure to inspect flooded areas and ask for expert help, as necessary.

     

    I like the idea of being able to act now in ways that will help my children have the same safe, prepared, ready-for-anything feelings my parents gave me. I feel lucky that my parents’ preparations allowed me to enjoy the beauty of this crazy earth, including the beauty of a thunderous rainstorm. (Thanks, Mom and Dad!)  That is a gift I want my children to have, too.

    --Sarah B.

    Posted In: Uncategorized Tagged With: thunderstorm, storms, emergency preparedness

  • When the Lightning Strikes

    When Lightning Strikes will you be prepared?

    According to Time magazine’s online newsfeed, the US Geological Survey has  published a new map of the United States. Broken down by county, and based on data from 1995 to 2009, this map shows the relative rate of lightning strikes across the nation. As the headline suggests, “You Have the Highest Chance of Getting Struck” in the darker red areas, which appear concentrated in—but not exclusive to—the Northeast and Southwest US. Estimated averages range from 50 to 200 fatalities each year from lightning strikes, but even a non-fatal lightning strike can be traumatic and cause injuries.

    I know at this time of year, most of us are more worried about rain choking our gutters. While it’s true that summer poses a greater threat of lightning striking, any time is a good time to inform and prepare ourselves. (And if you think lightning won’t strike at the end of winter, check out this unbelievable video  from Lexington, KY, that shows 11 strikes in one minute!)

    We’ve written about lightning before, once to publicize Lightning Awareness Week  last June and a more thorough article  later that summer, with loads of links and resources. Those are great places to start—especially if you live in one of the areas highlighted in the USGS’s new map!

    Want a bit more reading? WikiHow has a great little eight step list with pictures, titled (appropriately) “How To Avoid Getting Hit By Lightning”. And ScienceDaily.com  takes a medical view of the phenomenon, offering an ER doctor’s perspective on what happens when someone is struck by lightning and what you can do to help.

    Don’t let the stormy season creep up on you. No matter how chilly or beautiful it is in your area right now, be prepared for any weather disaster!

    -Stacey

    Posted In: Uncategorized Tagged With: thunderstorms, lightning, storms

  • The South Prepares for Huge Winter Storms

    Tweets show how the South is prepping for severe winter storms

    According to Accuweather.com, “A snow and ice storm will severely impact travelers and residents from northern Georgia to the Carolinas into Wednesday night.” This storm is even expected to stretch into Virginia and parts of Tennessee. It’s been reported that this could be one of the worst ice storms for parts of the South in more than 10 years.

    Recently the South has experienced massive ice and snow storms, uncharacteristic to the region. Two weeks ago, Atlanta, Ga. was hit hard by an expected storm that stranded thousands on the road overnight. Now, many residents are vowing not to get caught off guard again.

    Tweets show the South prepping for severe winter storms

    Lisa Nadir, a resident of Acworth, Ga., stated in a My Fox New York article, "Last time I was totally unprepared, I was completely blindsided….I'm going to be prepared from now on for the rest of my life."  Nadir sat in traffic for 13 hours and spent the night in her car on Jan. 28th when the first major storm hit.

    Like Nadir, many Georgia residents are preparing for this big, new storm. Wednesday afternoon, the business sector of downtown Atlanta was found deserted as many residents stayed home. Reluctant to experience a similar traffic jam as they saw two weeks ago, these residents are making a change to avoid being caught on gridlocked roads for hours.

    Tweets show the South prepping for severe winter storms

    On Wednesday morning, over 2,000 flights coming in and out of Atlanta International Airport were cancelled. And there are several images on Twitter from the New York Times and the Weather Channel showing grocery store shelves that have been practically picked clean as people stock up for the storm.

    Tweets show the South prepping for severe winter storms

    Tweets show the South prepping for severe winter storms

    Two major concerns with this storm are icy roadways and power outages. Freezing rain, sleet, and snow could (once again) leave many stranded on the road. And the weight of ice on tree limbs could cause them to fall onto power lines, creating widespread power outages.

    Take some cues from the spirit of preparation that many in Atlanta now have; prepare yourselves for winter storms with the following articles and products:

    Sources

    http://www.accuweather.com/en/weather-news/ice-storm-begins-to-unfold-in/23186487

    http://www.myfoxny.com/story/24688333/with-dire-storm-forecast-many-in-ga-stay-home

    Posted In: Uncategorized Tagged With: storms, disaster preparedness, South, winter weather, winter preparedness, emergency preparedness, Survival, preparedness, Winter, winter storms