During most years in the ArkLaTex, we see the chance of experiencing severe weather increase during the spring.  Much of the severe weather that we experience during a typical year occurs during the months of March, April, and May.  In preparation for this year’s severe weather season, the state of Louisiana has declared this week to be Severe Weather Awareness Week.

Now is the time for all of us in the ArkLaTex to make sure that we are severe weather ready!  With that in mind, here is a list of things to be aware of as the chance of severe weather increases in the coming months.

  1. Lightning:  Each year in the US more than 20 million bolts of lightning strike the ground killing dozens and injuring many more.  Given the frequency of thunderstorms in our area, it’s easy to forget about or even ignore the dangers of lightning. Fortunately, it’s easy to protect yourself and your family.  Just remember two simple phrases:  ‘When thunder roars, go indoors!’  & ‘See a flash, dash inside’.  Once inside, remember to stay away from windows.
  2. Flooding:  Flooding is one of our nation’s biggest weather killers.  Why?  Too many people think cars make good boats.  Trust me they don’t.  Just 12 inches of fast-moving water can move a car.  Fortunately, it’s also easy to protect yourself from the dangers of flooding.  Just remember to Turn Around and Don’t Drown. If strong storms with heavy rain are in your area and you don’t have to travel, then just stay home until the storms pass.
  3. Tornadoes: Last year we saw 22 tornadoes touch down in the ArkLaTex.  Five of those 22 were considered strong tornadoes with an EF rating of 2 or higher.  It appears that we could see another active tornado season again this spring.  Do you have a tornado safety plan?  If you do, now is the time to review it with your family.  If you don’t, it’s time to make one.  In our area, most of us don’t have basements.  Your best ‘safe room’ is a small room in the middle of your house such as a closet or bathroom.  Remember that a watch means that a tornado or severe storm COULD happen.  A warning means that a Tornado or severe storm IS happening and you need to execute your plan. The NWS provides a nice timeline (above) on how to plan for severe weather when it is in the forecast.
  4. Mobile Home Severe Weather Safety: If you live in a mobile home, it’s important to remember that ALL tornadoes have the capability to destroy a mobile home. Some severe storms that don’t produce tornadoes can produce winds of over 80 mph that can also do significant damage.  That’s why it is recommended that residents of mobile homes figure out another safe structure to go to when any severe weather is in the forecast. I suggest making arrangements with a friend or relative to pay a visit when severe weather threatens.  Below is a three-step plan recommended by the National Weather Service.    

Finally, it’s important to make sure that you can receive warnings when they are issued by the National Weather Service.  Most smartphones will sound a loud tone when very strong severe storms or tornadoes are issued for your location.  Double-check that your phone has this capability.  If it doesn’t, consider purchasing a NOAA weather radio.   

Get daily forecasts and exclusive severe weather details on storms as they approach your area by downloading the Your Weather Authority app now available in the App Store and Google Play

Fortunately, most of us will probably not feel the devastating impacts that severe weather could bring this spring, however, that’s no excuse to not be ready in case you are.   As always, when severe weather is in the forecast or is threatening remember to turn to NBC 6 to stay weather ready.