March 2-8, 2014, is the annual National Severe Weather Preparedness Week, sponsored by the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) and the National Oceanic Atmospheric Administration (NOAA). This a week set aside each year to help prepare the public, government agencies, as well as public and private companies for the upcoming severe weather season. This year’s theme is, Be a Force of Nature: Take the Next Step. During National Severe Weather Preparedness Week, this year, I am taking the time to learn how to prepare for severe weather. Being prepared to act quickly could be a matter of survival. This is especially evident during the threat of severe weather. The deadliest and most destructive tornado of 2013, an EF-5 on May 20 in Moore, Oklahoma, caused more than $2 billion in property damage. Even though severe weather was anticipated days in advance, many in the impacted areas said they did not have a plan and were caught unprepared. While spring tends to produce more tornadoes, they’re not uncommon in fall. On Nov. 17, a late season tornado outbreak that struck seven Midwestern states became the most active tornado day of 2013 with a total of 74 tornadoes. Whether it is spring, summer, fall, or winter, severe weather can and does happen at any time, anywhere. Even though the Oklahoma tornado outbreak was forecasted for days in advance, and warning lead times for the tornado outbreak averaged nearly 20 minutes, there were still many people in the impacted areas that stated they were unprepared. Here are a few simple ways to be better prepared for severe weather. Know Your Risk: Hurricanes, tornadoes, flash flooding, thunderstorms-every state in the United States experiences severe weather. No one can ever use this excuse and say they did not know severe weather could impact them where they live. The National Weather Service issues all watches and warnings across the U.S. and you can stay informed by visiting Weather.gov to get the latest on weather threats. Take Action: Take the next step in severe weather preparedness by creating a family communications plan, putting an emergency kit together, keeping important papers and valuables in a safe place. Be an Example: Once you have taken action to prepare for severe weather, share your story with family and friends on Facebook or Twitter. Your preparedness story will inspire others to do the same. A Reliable Source for Warnings: It is essential for you to have a source for severe weather notifications. Every second counts when severe weather is threatening. With more and more persons turning to their mobile devices for weather information, MyWARN makes a great addition to your severe weather arsenal. As soon as it is downloaded onto your device, it is ready and working for you. No programming required! The GPS feature allows
MyWARN to keep your location up-to-date and will keep you notified of any threatening severe weather for your location. Find out more about being prepared for severe weather and the Weather-Ready Nation Initiative. Follow us on Twitter. Like us on Facebook. Add us to your Google+ circles. MyWARN is available in the Google Play Store and as always our very popular iOS version is available for download in the iTunes Store. Get MyWARN now from the iTunes Store and the Google Play Store.