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Thunderstorms, Tornadoes, and Floods: Prepare Now for Unpredictable Spring Weather

Photo: Two girls looking out of a window on a rainy day.Spring is the time of year when many things change—including the weather. Spring temperatures can swing back and forth between balmy and frigid. Extreme weather changes can sometimes occur within the same day. Days filled with sun and gentle breezes can suddenly become cloudy, bringing thunderstorms and possibly tornadoes or flooding. Mark Twain once said, "In the spring I have counted one hundred and thirty-six different kinds of weather inside of four and twenty hours."

Thunderstorms cause most of the severe spring weather. They can bring lightning, tornadoes, and flooding. Whenever warm, moist air collides with cool, dry air, thunderstorms can occur. For much of the world, this happens in spring and summer.

Because spring weather is so unpredictable, you may be unprepared when severe weather hits—particularly if you live in a region that does not often experience thunderstorms, tornadoes or flooding. When severe weather hits unexpectedly, the risk of injury and death increases, so planning ahead makes sense. Prepare for storms, floods, and tornadoes in advance, because in the spring, they very likely will.

Advance planning for thunderstorms, lightning, tornadoes or floods requires specific safety precautions. Still, you can follow many of the same steps for all extreme weather events.

Have on hand:

  • Photo: Stormy weather over a lake.A battery-operated flashlight, a battery-operated NOAA Weather Radio, and extra batteries for both
  • An emergency evacuation plan, including a map of the home and, for each type of severe weather emergency, routes to safety from each room
  • A list of important personal information, including
    • telephone numbers of neighbors, family and friends
    • insurance and property information
    • telephone numbers of utility companies
    • medical information
  • A first aid kit including
    • prescription medication
    • hydrogen peroxide
    • antibiotic ointment
    • over-the-counter medicines such as aspirin and diarrhea medicine
    • bandages and dressings for injuries
  • A 3–5 day supply of bottled water and nonperishable food
  • Personal hygiene items
  • Blankets or sleeping bags
  • An emergency kit in your car

Prepare family members for the possibility of severe weather. Tell them where to seek appropriate shelter as soon as they are aware of an approaching storm. Practice an emergency plan for each type of severe weather. Show family members where the emergency supplies are stored, and make sure they know how to turn off the water, gas, and electricity in the home. Advance planning can decrease the risks when severe weather strikes in the spring.

More Information

For more detailed information about specific types of severe weather, see the following:

 

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  • Page last reviewed: March 15, 2010
  • Page last updated: March 15, 2010
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