This is a funny time of year. From one day to the next, you aren’t sure if you will get rain, sunny skies, snow or tornadoes. Or all of the above.
Keeping up with the weather forecast can be exhausting in the early spring when it seems like a new season every few hours. The best way to go is to prepare for anything and everything.
Instead of preparing for a specific weather event, consider being prepared for severe weather in general. Create a basic survival kit and then add items for more specific weather events. You may find that most of the things you need will be useful no matter what kind of weather disaster you encounter.
For example, having water and food bars for your family is important no matter what happens. Have a supply in your home, in each vehicle and in your boat, as well as packed in with your camping gear.
Some people shy away from the hurricane kit because they don’t live in an area prone to hurricanes. However, the supplies in that kit are useful in severe winter weather as well as in the case of a tornado. Personally, I feel everyone should own a hurricane kit as well as a survival kit.
When you browse the kits available, don’t just look at the name of the kit. Look at what that kit contains and how it can be put to use in a variety of situations.
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.
Buying boxed kits to give you a jump start on your preparedness efforts is a great way to get your basic supplies fast. But don’t let yourself be limited by the name of the kit you are considering. Often, the supplies in a particular kit are great for other uses than what the name implies.
For example, consider the Hurricane Kit. If you don’t live in a coastal location, you may overlook the vital tools contained in this kit, which is a great purchase for everyone, whether they live in a hurricane prone area or not. Every item in this kit should be part of a basic preparedness kit. This is a great kit to keep in your vehicle for winter emergencies.
Even if you already have a Roadside Severe Weather kit, adding the Hurricane Kit is a smart idea. Just having two folding shovels is a good idea in the winter months! Digging your car out of the snow could be a two-person job, as the video below shows.
Top international climate scientists and disaster experts meeting in Africa had a sharp message Friday for the world’s political leaders: Get ready for more dangerous and “unprecedented extreme weather” caused by global warming.
Making preparations, they say, will save lives and money.
These experts fear that without preparedness, crazy weather extremes may overwhelm some locations, making some places unlivable.
The Nobel Prize-winning Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change issued a new special report on global warming and extreme weather after meeting in Kampala, Uganda. This is the first time the group of scientists has focused on the dangers of extreme weather events such as heat waves, floods, droughts and storms. Those are more dangerous than gradual increases in the world’s average temperature.
“We need to be worried,” said one of the study’s lead authors, Maarten van Aalst, director of the International Red Cross/Red Crescent Climate Centre in the Netherlands. “And our response needs to anticipate disasters and reduce risk before they happen rather than wait until after they happen and clean up afterward. … Risk has already increased dramatically.”
The report said “a changing climate leads to changes in the frequency, intensity, spatial extent, duration, and timing of extreme weather and climate events, and can result in unprecedented extreme weather and climate events.” And it said that some — but not all — of these extreme events are caused by the increase of man-made greenhouse gases in the atmosphere.