With the 4th of July approaching, and festival season in full swing, it's time for summer fun. Concerts, a day at the beach, picnics in the forest preserves, camping, hiking, boating, baseball, there are so many ways to enjoy being outdoors.
But along with summer comes severe weather season. Monday's powerful storms are an example--thunder and lightning, rain, high winds, hail, flash flooding! Don't let bad weather become a disaster. If you are planning outdoor activities, follow the motto of the National Weather Service--be aware, and be prepared.
Be aware of the weather.
Pay attention to the forecast. Long-range forecasts can give you 10 days' lead time on possible weather developments. Monday's severe storm warnings were issued hours ahead, and the forecast was spot on! Accurate forecasting can give you enough warning to change your plans, get where you're going, or seek shelter, if necessary.
Most people rely on more than one source for weather information. If you don't have one, now is the time to get a weather radio. Pocket radios are good to take with you, too. Smartphones can give you up-to-the-minute weather developments. I could do a whole post on all the weather apps available! Weather.com has many to choose from.
In addition to weather apps, the National Weather Service is on Twitter, now. You can follow them, too @NWS Chicago for instantaneous updates. There are also feeds for Milwaukee, St. Louis, Indianapolis, and more.
Be aware of where you are.
Did you drive, or take public transportation? Have you been to this place before? On the water, on a golf course, in a park at an outdoor wedding, if you had to seek shelter, where would you go?
People understand that outdoor plans are "weather permitting". Do you have a Plan B in case of rain? Maybe you can reschedule that picnic or postpone that camping trip.
Large public events, like concerts or ballgames, should have procedures in place for dealing with bad weather and crowds. But when there are large groups of people, you know how confusing things can become. Panic can ensue. Try to be the calm in the storm. Be helpful if you can.
Avoid downed power lines
Be careful of high standing water
Do not seek shelter under trees
Here is a post on lightning safety.
Here is a post on tornado safety.
Fortunately, stormy weather is not in the forecast for the Chicago area this weekend, but summer is just heating up. Enjoy the beautiful weather, and be careful out there!
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