Are You Prepared for Severe Weather?

We’ve all experienced waking up in the middle of the night to a crack of thunder, watching bolts of lightning shoot from the sky. You hear the wind howling and creaking through the seals of the windows, while the rain dances on the roof.

Even though you are sheltered in the safety of your home, severe weather can leave you unsure of what to do. In life, there will always be forces that are out of our control. Here in Michigan, our weather is notoriously unpredictable, but even in uncertain conditions, we do have the power to control what we do in these situations.

Your safety is of the utmost importance in the midst of severe weather. No matter what natural occurrence takes place, here are some simple safety tips from the American Red Cross to follow to avoid that feeling of helplessness.

Stay informed – It’s important to know what’s going on in the midst of bad weather. In order to do this, you need to have accessibility to alerts and notifications. There are applications available to you like, The Weather Channel app and These apps are available on multiple devices and give you access to weather, no matter where you are.

Know the difference – Severe weather watches and warnings are not the same thing. According to the American Red Cross, a severe weather watch (thunderstorm, tornado, etc) occurs when a storm is possible and not in the area yet. A warning occurs when severe weather has been spotted or indicated by weather radar. The warning indicates that you could be in danger. By knowing the difference, you will know how to respond more efficiently.

Stay indoors – Avoid storm chasing under all circumstances. According to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, since 1940, more than 9,400 people have been killed in the U.S. by lightning. This is compared to 7,400 by tornadoes and 3,300 by hurricanes. Although severe weather can be fascinating, you should stay inside to be safe. During a tornado, get underground. During a thunderstorm, stay in your car or home.

Be prepared – To be prepared, have an emergency preparedness kit ready in your home. The American Red Cross recommends that you include:

  • Water (1 gallon per person, per day)
  • Non-perishable food
  • Battery-powered radio
  • Flashlight
  • Extra batteries
  • Cell phone with chargers
  • Extra cash

Stay calm – It can be hard to stay calm when there are forces that are out of your control, but keeping calm can prevent unnecessary reactions. If you stay alert and informed, you can follow the necessary precautions to keep you and your family safe.

Regardless of what the severe weather is, you need to ensure that you are prepared for whatever comes your way. Unfortunately, we can’t control the weather. However, we can control how we respond. Follow a few of these tips and you will be prepared for what tomorrow may be bring.

Photo credit: Jim Sorbie

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