by Carmen Wright, volunteer contributorAs we have all experienced in the last few weeks, weather patterns in Texas can be unpredictable. Prepare yourself for all the severe weather we see here in North Texas—tornadoes, droughts, flooding, and even snowstorms—by joining the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) campaign to “Be a Force of Nature” by taking the following steps:
• Visit www.weather.gov
This site has it all: an interactive map of the U.S. that provides forecast for the entire country or just your little corner of Texas; active alerts so you know what is going on right now; maps showing air quality and rainfall; maps of weather history; radar of current weather systems and other data.
• Check out STATE OF THE CLIMATE
I admit I did not know this site existed, but now that I know I’ve turned into a complete weather nerd. It provides helpful summaries, maps, and graphs of weather trends in the U.S. You can read the report for January 2015 and see how we started the year or go back and see national monthly percent area for drought since 1900!
• Follow weather on Social Media
Let’s be honest; if you can have time to follow tweets for #foodiebandnames (one of my favorites is Nine Inch Kales), then you have time in your life for helpful tweets from the National Weather Service and NOAA.
• Get the Red Cross Tornado App
Get real-time tornado alerts and warnings on your phone, take a quiz to see how prepared you are, get access to 63 years of tornado history, and learn what to do before, during and after a tornado.
• Make a disaster supply kit
At the very least this should include one gallon of water per person per day for three days, flashlight, three-day supply of non-perishable food, whistle, first aid kit, battery powered or hand-cranked radio, a NOAA radio, extra batteries, wrench or pliers, local map, moist toilettes, manual can opener, and cell phone with charger.
Have a Family Emergency Plan
Being prepared is great, but make sure you have communicated plans to family members on where to go for safety, how you will contact each other, how you will find each other, and what you will do in different situations. Also consider your bigger family: your community. If your work, school, or place of worship does not have an emergency plan, volunteer to help create one. Finally, don’t forget to include your pets in your plans!
LIVE LONG and BE PREPARED!