Archive for February 8th, 2012
Tips for Protecting your Home; Family from Severe Weather
- Published on Wednesday, 08 February 2012 16:29
- Jenny Brown
- 5 Comments
With our next bout of severe weather forecasted for tomorrow, today’s blog focuses on how to protect your home and family from two of nature’s biggest hissy fits…Thunderstorms and Tornadoes. On average, Texas has about 60 thunderstorm days per year with an average of 130 tornadoes sited. Although thunderstorms and tornadoes can occur during any time of the year, they are most likely to happen during the spring months…April, May and June…then again in the fall. This is due to the greater frequency of colder air masses (fronts) moving southward into more warm and humid air in our part of the south plains creating instability in our atmosphere that can produce severe weather. A majority of the tornados in Texas occur along and south of the Red River between Lubbock and Dallas; however, they can strike anywhere in the state. For more detailed information about tornadoes and other forms of severe weather, please click http://www.spc.noaa.gov/faq/tornado/ to some FAQs prepared by Roger Edwards, forecaster at the Storm Prediction Center in Norman, OK.
OK, so now that we know storms can occur anywhere at anytime across the great state of Texas, what can we do to protect our family and property as best we can from the destruction they cause? I’ve prepared a pretty comprehensive list of ideas and suggestions below that are pretty much in order of most important to slightly less important, but please keep in mind that all of this is important to protecting your family and property. Lets make one thing clear. Outdoor Warning Sirens are meant to do one thing, warn people outdoors. They are not meant to be a primary method of warning folks indoors or wake you up in the middle of the night.
- Have a NOAA Weather Radio with SAME (Specific Area Message Encoding) technology. We cannot stress enough the importance of having one, properly programmed for your area http://www.nws.noaa.gov/nwr/CntyCov/nwrTX.htm , and with fresh batteries installed at all times in case the power goes out.
- Have multiple sources for receiving severe weather information. This includes smartphone Apps such as iMap Weather Radio http://www.wdtinc.com/pages/imapweather_radio that uses your device’s location service to provide you with current watches and warnings wherever you are traveling. I can testify from my own use of this App, it will deliver Warnings for your location to you even while you’re yakking on the phone.
- Have a Family Safety Plan in place in the event of severe weather. http://www.nssl.noaa.gov/edu/safety/disasterplan.html That kindof goes without saying, but some additional things to think about are having your insurance claims number(s) and the number to your local Red Cross organization programmed into your phone. In the case of severe and widespread destruction, those numbers could become a lifeline for help.
- Consider building a Safe Room in your home or community. http://www.fema.gov/plan/prevent/saferoom/ When designing new construction, ask the builder include a safe room in the construction plans. If your new home will be FHA financed, HUD allows borrowers to include windstorm shelters as an eligible work item for certain types of FHA financed new construction. For those thinking of remodeling, consider retrofitting a centrally located closet or bathroom into a safe room. The FEMA link above is very comprehensive in providing sub-links to everything from design plans to acquiring grant money to fund the construction of a shelter in your community or residence.
- Bookmark the link to your local National Weather Service office on your computer and/or smartphone. http://www.srh.noaa.gov/ We at Texas Storm Chasers try to keep our Facebook page loaded with as much current information as possible, but sometimes during the more severe weather outbreaks, we can’t be as comprehensive as we’d like.
- While you’re outside taking care of yardwork and/or repairs, look around and take stock of items that can become projectiles in the event of a windstorm or tornado. Projectiles can include but are not limited to, patio furniture and umbrellas, hanging baskets or other yard décor, loose fencing and gazebos and portable sports equipment.. Weather forecasting has gotten pretty good over the past 20 years, and we usually have a couple of days lead time before a severe storm event, so make sure you take that time to assess what items on your property mother nature might accidentally donate to your neighbor.
- Consider reinforcing your roof and doors on your home and other buildings on your property. http://www.fema.gov/library/viewRecord.do?id=3263 Most homes can be retrofitted with door bracings and roof/gable supports that will help resist destruction from high wind.
I realize the information above is a lot to digest, but there is an abundance of good information there and we hope you bookmark this for future reference. While none of us, not even the very best forecasters, can predict exactly where and when severe weather will strike, the one thing we know for sure is that mother nature is going to do what she wants to do, so we best be prepared for whatever she has in store for us.