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Signs of Severe Weather


December 12, 2018

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Preparing for severe weather is imperative for you and your family’s safety during all times of the year. Knowing the signs of severe weather will help you prepare for your early evacuation plans and give you time to get your home ready for the approaching weather conditions and secure all important documents and valuables.


Hurricanes occur from a pre-existing tropical storm. For a hurricane to form the water must be very warm and thunderstorms from the tropical storm will only continue to fuel the storm. The National Weather Service is well-versed in informing the public of growing tropical storms and hurricanes. 36-72 hours before a hurricane strikes signs can be shown. At 72 hours the ocean swells will begin increasing to about 6 feet in height. Around 36 hours the pressure will drop. This can be noticed by the change in temperature and pressure induced headaches. At 18 hours the rain will slowly start until 6 hours before landfall where you will experience a continual downpour of rain. If your area is located in the evacuation, it is imperative you listen to your local officials on evacuating quickly and safely.


You will most likely experience thunderstorms in warm conditions when the humid air begins to rise. Thunderstorms normally only have a 30-minute life cycle and can be noticed by cumulus cloud formations, darkening skies, and strong winds. Once you see the dark skies and clouds creeping in begin getting to shelter immediately as lightning is sure to come.


Tornadoes can most commonly be experienced in the central part of the United States. Before the tornado strikes, you will experience a calming in the wind and the air will become very still. The sky will often have a greenish tint and be very dark. Be aware that while you may be searching for a funnel of debris, this sometimes will not be visible, and it will just be a large cloud of debris. The sounds of a tornado are one of the biggest signs. Most common sounds are roars, rumbles or even a large waterfall. There are many unknown variables when it comes to signs of tornadoes, always be prepared and pack your storm shelter well to ensure safety.

Snow Storms

You may not always know when a severe snow storm is on its way until local officials announce a warning or watch. Some things to expect as the storm approaches are strong winds, wind chills, blinding snow with very little visibility. It is important to ensure you are always prepared in the winter for this type of storm. For example, preparing your home to keep out the cold with insulation or weather stripping, gathering supplies needed if the power were to go out for long periods of time and always have extra batteries. When a severe snow storm hits always remember to stay off the road, prepare for power outages, dress warmly and watch for signs of frostbite and hypothermia.


As there are not always noticeable signs of wildfires, the most obvious is the smoke that engulfs the sky that can be seen from a distance. Even at a distance, the smoke can travel and affect one’s breathing, induce pain in the chest and even sinus congestion. If you experience any of these symptoms be sure to seek medical attention. Wildfires start and move rapidly based on the weather conditions at the time. When the wind changes so do the fires and the smoke so be aware of your surroundings. Always stay vigilant of the local weather alert and when local officials tell you to evacuate, do so immediately for your safety.

By recognizing the signs of severe weather, you can prepare your family and your home. It is extremely important to have an evacuation plan that the entire family is aware of. Keep in mind that your evacuation plan may be different depending on the type of severe weather event occurring. Make sure that you know how to protect your home, and the valuables inside, even after your family has evacuated to safety. Some safety measures include the use of storm shutters, sandbags, and smoke alarms. Having a home safe will give you peace of mind if you need to leave valuables behind in a quick evacuation. If possible, have a double layer of valuable security. Keep a smaller, portable safe inside of your larger fireproof and waterproof home safe with all of the irreplaceable valuables that you need to take with you no matter what. Whenever you have to evacuate quickly grab the portable safe, leaving your other valuables in your fireproof safe, and get your family to safety! Lastly, always follow your local official’s recommendations for safety.