National Severe Weather Awareness Week: Recognize and Plan for Severe Weather

By Erin Duncan, volunteer contributor, American Red Cross

Spring is finally here. The days are getting longer and warmer, flowers are beginning to bloom and the summer season is just around the corner. However, with the arrival of the spring season also comes the promise of severe storms. Beginning on the first day of spring, American Red Cross is proud to participate in National Severe Weather Awareness Week from March 20-24.

Severe weather can strike at any moment whether it is thunderstorms, flooding, wildfires or tornadoes. National Severe Weather Awareness Week encourages all those who may be affected by severe weather to take precautions and be prepared for any kind of severe weather situation. Recognizing and planning for severe weather can save lives.

Southern states like Louisiana, Texas and Mississippi are susceptible to flooding during this time due to heavy rainfall and rising rivers. Severe thunderstorms affect the whole country with lightning, flash floods and heavy winds, which can damage homes and cause power outages. Tornadoes are more common in the Plains states, but can occur anywhere. They are violent and are capable of destroying homes or businesses, leaving many people with nothing.

You can prepare for weather emergencies and be Red Cross Ready by following these three easy steps:

  1. Build an emergency kit

Have all the necessary materials for severe weather ready at your home by making your own emergency kit or purchase one of our three options. This kit should include:

  • Three days worth of non-perishable food and water – one gallon per person, per day for drinking and hygiene purposes
  • Flashlights and extra batteries
  • First aid kit, medications and other necessary medical items
  • Copies of all important documents (proof of address, dead/lease to home, passports, birth certificates and insurance policies)
  • Extra cash
  • Blankets, hand warmers and rain ponchos
  1. Make a Plan

Be sure to discuss among your family members what you would do in the case of severe weather. Plan what to do in case you’re separated and choose places to meet in case of a sudden emergency and one in case have to evacuate. Once a plan is set in place, try practicing it through to ensure you are all prepared and on the same page.

  1. Stay Informed

An emergency radio can keep you updated with important alerts during disasters or notify you of an impending weather emergency. The American Red Cross emergency and weather radios come equipped with a hand crank power source to manually power it in the event of a power loss, as well as one or more additional power source to power your radio.

Download helpful apps

Download the free American Red Cross Emergency app to receive emergency alerts and instructions on what to do. If you’re in an area that is frequently affected by tornados, also download the free American Red Cross Tornado app for alerts.

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