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Thunderstorms Can Catch You Off Guard, Be Prepared

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Thunderstorms are another type of natural disaster that is unfortunately normal for our region of the country this time of year. This is why it is important you don’t let this severe weather pattern catch you off guard. It is essential you understand the severity of these types of weather systems.

Being prepared is crucial, especially if you live in a spring thunderstorm prone area. Therefore, know your area’s risk for thunderstorms. In most places they can occur year-round and at any hour. You may want to sign up for your community’s warning system. The Emergency Alert System (EAS) and National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) Weather Radio also provide emergency alerts.

It is always prudent to act now, not later. This begins with strengthening your home. Cut down or trim trees that may be in danger of falling on your home. Birmingham is known as The Tree City so there are many hardwood trees throughout our city and surrounding municipalities. Consider buying surge protectors, lightning rods or a lightning protection system to protect your home, appliances and electronic devices.

Create an emergency plan so that you and your family know what to do, where to go and what you will need to protect yourselves from the effects of a thunderstorm. You should identify a sturdy building close to where you live, work, study and play. You should review your emergency plan with the entire family. Also, you should include any household pets in your emergency plan.

Preparation for a thunderstorm can save lives and prevent further damage. (Adobe Stock)

Know the difference between a National Weather Service (NWS) severe thunderstorm watch and a severe thunderstorm warning. A severe thunderstorm watch means be prepared. Severe thunderstorms are possible in and near the watch area. Stay informed and be ready to act if a severe thunderstorm watch is upgraded to a warning. The watch area is typically large, covering numerous counties or even states.

A severe thunderstorm warning means to act! The upgrade to warning indicates that severe weather has been reported by spotters or indicated by radar. Warnings indicate imminent danger to life and property. Take shelter in a substantial building. Get out of mobile homes that can blow over in high winds.

Warnings typically encompass a much smaller area (around the size of a city or small county) that may be impacted by large hail or damaging wind identified by an NWS forecaster on radar or by a trained spotter/law enforcement who is watching the storm.

Preparation for a thunderstorm can save lives and prevent further damage. It is vital that you stay vigilant and Keep an Eye on Safety during a watch and/or warning.