With stormy weather on tap for the Chicago area tonight, it is important to know the best way to ride out storms and severe weather safely. While it is rare for tornados and other drastically severe weather to hit the immediate Chicagoland area, it does happen and you should know what to do when there are warnings or weather threats. Here are five quick and easy ways to stay on top of severe weather and get through the storms safely.
1. Pay attention
The first step in safety is knowing when severe weather is possible so you can avoid situations like being on the golf course during a lightning storm. You don’t need to watch the weather continuously and give yourself carpal tunnel from obsessively refreshing the radar page, but pay attention to general weather forecasts so you have an idea of when you need to pay closer attention to what is coming our way.
2. Have a plan
The second thing you should do is have a plan. If you don’t have a basement, know where you should take cover in your home- usually it will be in a bath tub or windowless room. If there is lightening expected, plan to get indoors. Have a flashlight and emergency kit ready and reachable in case of a power outage. By having a plan, you can also reduce some weather-related anxiety. By knowing what to do, you will reduce the amount of panic induced when bad weather comes calling.
3. Be informed
With well-insulated homes and Netflix, it is possible to completely miss major weather warnings or sirens. In order to be informed in these situations, you should ideally have a weather radio that turns on automatically when severe weather warnings are issued for your area. If you don’t have a weather radio, then you can also install apps on your cellphone to notify you of warnings. By default, newer smartphones have automatically installed warning apps, but if your cellphone coverage goes out, so does your warning system. Once again, the best way to be informed is a weather radio.
4. Be aware of hazards
Another part of being well-informed is being aware of the hazards you may encounter. If you have a large, dead tree in front of your house and high winds are expected, you may want to seek refuge in a part of your home that is not directly under the tree. If flooding is expected, check your sump pump. If you hear thunder, you are close enough to be struck by lightning, so move indoors.
5. Don’t ignore warnings
This one may seem like common sense along with being informed, but often people get burnt out by frequent warnings that don’t manifest actual dangerous situations. You might have heard a warning earlier this week and not seen any rain, but that does not mean it will be the same situation tonight. If you hear a warning, do not ignore it and do not get lazy and think that the weather will simply pass by. Take each warning seriously and stay safe!