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Staying Safe: Severe Weather Preparation for Spring in Alabama

It’s springtime, and with the abundance of greenery and blooms also comes an increase in potential severe weather for Alabama residents.

The state’s most significant severe weather season runs from March through May. April is especially dangerous, with The National Weather Service reporting nearly 600 tornadoes in that month alone since 1950.

Parts of the state are particularly susceptible to storms due to a variety of factors such as elevation changes and population density. Outside of Baldwin and Mobile counties in the south, the northern half of the state sees substantially more tornadoes annually, with some of the hardest hit counties being Madison, Cullman, and Jefferson.

With the unpredictability of severe weather, it’s critical to be prepared. Take a look at our safety tips to help safeguard your family, loved ones, and property from the inevitability of spring storms.

Stay Informed
Staying informed on the potential of severe weather is crucial to ensuring you and your family’s safety. Charge your smart devices prior to the storm and keep a battery-operated charger on hand. A NOAA weather radio with a tone-alert feature will also notify you of severe weather warnings from the National Weather Service, even during a power outage.

Assemble an Emergency Kit
Prepare for a storm before it arrives with an essentials emergency kit, and store it where you plan to take shelter. Some items to include in your kit are: flashlights with extra batteries, water and nonperishable foods, medications, a first aid kit, a whistle, a battery-powered radio, and extra blankets. Be sure that every member of your family knows where the kit is located.

Secure Your Property
Secure your house and property beforehand to help minimize any damage that it may sustain. Inspect the integrity of your roof and gutters to prevent water damage and flooding. Prune nearby trees and remove any dead or overhanging branches that may pose a risk of falling onto your home or a power line. Additionally, you should secure any outdoor furniture, garbage cans, or any other loose items that could potentially be blown away by high winds.

Create a Severe Weather Plan
Sit down with your family and create a comprehensive emergency plan so that you’re ready to take action when the unexpected occurs. A plan should include potential evacuation routes, designated shelters within your home, as well as communication strategies during a severe weather event. You should also identify shelter locations in your neighborhood if you decide to evacuate. Additionally, you should practice a severe weather drill with your family in order to be as ready as possible.

Where to Take Shelter
When determining the safest location in your home, a basement or storm cellar is ideal. If those aren’t an option, an interior room on the lowest floor of the home without windows, such as a bathroom or closet, is the best option. North Alabama residents are encouraged to register their private storm shelters, which can help rescue teams get to you faster in the event of a devastating storm.

After the Storm
The hours and days following a storm can be critical, and you may need to prepare to shelter in place for an extended period of time depending on the storm’s severity. Continue to monitor weather apps and local news for updated information, and contact authorities to report any downed power lines, blocked roads, or other damage. It’s also important to check in on neighbors to ensure their safety and offer any assistance they may need.

Preparing for spring storms requires careful planning and proactive strategies, especially if you live in a particularly vulnerable area. Stay vigilant, connected, and safe as we enter the spring storm season, and rest in the assurance that you’ve prepared well for the unexpected.

Huntsville Utilities (HU) is a Public Utility owned by the City of Huntsville. We answer only to the people we serve. Decisions are based on what is best for our customers. We do not pay dividends to stockholders. Instead, we provide lower prices to our customers. 

 

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