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Spring Is Almost Here. Are you Ready for Floods?

spring flooding

While many of us are happily anticipating the arrival of spring, it is also important to be aware of the possibility of flooding. Flooding is one hazard that can occur anywhere and is the most common one across the country.

Heavy rains and melting snow saturate the ground until the water just can’t be absorbed anymore. Rivers, lakes and creeks are filled to overflowing, and the result is areas getting flooded. Sometimes flooding is minor, but often the results are devastating. Loss of life and property, sadly, are common.

There are a few things you can do to prepare for this type of disaster. Elevating the furnace and water heater may protect them from getting wet in a flood. Check valves can prevent floodwater from backing up into your home plumbing. Basement walls should be sealed with waterproofing materials.

If you know you live in a flood prone area, consider building barriers to keep floodwater out of your home. While this may not always be possible, if you are able to do it, it may help save your property from extensive damage.

Flood insurance is also a smart investment. Check out FloodSmart.gov to see how affordable it really is, as well as learning how much a flood could actually cost you with the Cost of Flooding tool.

Of course, as when you prepare for any type of disaster, you should have an emergency survival kit and a family emergency plan so everyone knows what to do when disaster strikes. The more prepared you are, the less you need to worry about the safety of your family.

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What Can You Do for National Severe Weather Preparedness Week?

severe weather preparedness

FEMA and NOAA have declared March 3-9 2013 to be National Severe Weather Preparedness Week. Last year, severe weather resulted in over 450 deaths and 2600 injuries. Being prepared can help reduce these numbers.

What can you do?

First, know your risk. Learn what types of severe weather are possibilities where you live so you know what you need to prepare for.

Second, take action by creating a family emergency plan and having an emergency survival kit.

Finally, share what you have done with others including friends, family and coworkers. Spread the word about preparedness. It could save a life.

Are you prepared for the severe weather where you live?

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Winter Storms Bury the Midwest (video)

winter storm survival

Winter storms are still going strong, and we are again reminded how important it is to keep basic supplies on hand.

Check the batteries in all of your flashlights to be sure they will work when you need them. Better yet, get a solar/hand crank light so you don’t have to worry about batteries.

Also, be sure you have plenty of emergency food and water. If you are snowed in or stores are shut down because of the weather, you’ll be glad you have a back up.

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What Are Tornadoes (Video)

winter tornadoes are not uncommon

Tornadoes have really been in the news lately. It seems that they have become more and more common, not being limited to what is considered “tornado season”.

Tornadoes may not really be more frequent, but our ability to monitor them has improved, so we hear about them more than ever. Understanding tornadoes can make it easier to be prepared for them.

Tornadoes are vortexes of air descending from a thunderstorm to the ground. They are formed when moist, warm air with strong south winds mixes with cool, dry air with strong west or southwest winds, causing instability in the atmosphere. This instability causes a vortex of wind to form, usually seen as a funnel cloud.

In order to be an official tornado, the funnel must be in contact with the ground as well as the cloud base. In some cases, tornadoes are not visible because of blowing dust or rain. These are especially dangerous.

It used to be assumed that tornado season was from March through May, but tornadoes can really occur at any time, as we have seen this winter. Tornadoes occur most often between 3 and 9 pm, but can actually occur at any time of the day or night.

The range of a tornado can be from 100 yards to a mile wide and typically last 10 to 15 minutes, though it isn’t unheard of for a tornado to last for an hour or more. Most tornadoes travel from the southwest to the northeast, though they can go anywhere.

Scientists are still trying to nail down all the detail of what a tornado really is, but they have gotten pretty good at letting us know in advance if one is expected. When a tornado warning is issued for your location, you should go to a predetermined safe place.

This could be a central room with no windows, a basement or a storm shelter. If you live in a mobile home, make sure you have found out in advance where the closest storm shelter is located so you can get there fast.

Keep an emergency kit in your safe room that includes a helmet, gloves, extra shoes, a weather radio and a flashlight with extra batteries. The supplies in our Hurricane Kit and 1 Person Survival Kit will cover most of your needs during a tornado. Keep an emergency kit for your pets as well, including a pet carrier and extra leash to keep them controlled and safe in the event of an emergency.

Learn more about winter tornadoes from The Weather Channel:

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Less Snow, More Blizzards, More Reason to be Prepared

Scientists think we will start seeing more blizzards, but less overall snowfall, in coming years based on their theories on global warming. This could mean more hazardous conditions for drivers as well as those with the wisdom to stay home in bad weather.

Sudden blizzards can not only make it impossible to drive, but they can also knock out power for days, weeks, or even longer.

Now is a good time to consider a preparedness plan for your family. Everyone should have their own emergency kit. You should also pack an emergency kit for your pets who rely on you to take care of them in an emergency. Consider storing water for emergency use if pipes freeze and you can’t get water to your home.

We’ve also discussed the importance of having an emergency car kit. If you must go out in hazardous weather, make sure you have what you need to stay safe if there is an emergency. Really, staying home is the best course of action.

What are you supposed to do while you’re snowed in? Well if you still have power, or at least a working cell phone, you can assist with some weather research. According to an article from The Atlantic Wire, you can help researches gather snowstorm data.

With an app called mPing, you can collect all kinds of weather-related data and send it to The National Severe Storms Laboratory. This data will help them develop algorithms that aid in detecting and reporting various types of precipitation.

Data is needed from all over the US, so download the app for the Ping Project and help out the NSSL scientists, no matter what type of weather you are experiencing.

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