How to Prepare for a Thunderstorm

Thunderstorms can be as simple as a few rumbles of thunder and a little lightening, or they can become violent and terrifying. Either way, being prepared for the worst that nature can throw at us is always a good plan.

When thunderstorms are forecast, the first course of action on the home front should be to get everything that is outside of the home inside if at all possible. Much of the damage to property, or even people, is caused by flying debris. Lawn and porch furniture should be secured or put away, hanging baskets taken down, and any other loose materials collected before the storm hits. Anything that is not anchored down can become a missile in a high wind and can damage property and people. If you have vehicles parked under trees, they should be moved to a safer location.

Every home should have an emergency kit to help the family weather storms. There should be working flashlights, candles, a portable radio, and an emergency first aid kit. In rural areas, where well water is used, there should also be a supply of potable water drawn, just in case there is a power outage. If at all possible, it is always a good idea to have a generator on hand. A portable generator, or a whole house backup system generator, can be a life saver.

If the home has a basement that is prone to flooding, everything should already be elevated off the floor, and preferably sealed in plastic storage boxes. The sump pump should be checked periodically and there should be an auxiliary pump on hand for back up.

Local weather forecasts and radar should be monitored regularly to determine where and when the thunderstorm will strike and how severe it may be. These will also indicate the severity of the storm and if it is likely to turn into something more serious such as a tornado. In areas where severe storms or tornadoes are prevalent, it is a good idea to have a plan of action that all of the family is aware of in case of emergency. Having a safe spot to go to at a moment’s notice is vital. It is also a good idea to have a box where important documents, papers, and other treasures are stored that can be taken along to the shelter.

With the advent of Doppler radar and accurate, up to the minute forecasts, it is possible to prepare for a storm well in advance and help protect both lives and property.