How to prepare your storm shelter for severe weather


OKLAHOMA CITY (KFOR) — As the spring threat of severe weather increases, officials are encouraging people to prepare their storm shelters in case of tornadoes.

Though AccuWeather meteorologists expect a slow start to the peak of this spring’s severe weather season, they are warning that severe weather and tornado activity could abruptly develop. They also say this year could rival that of 2011, which saw one of the most active springs for severe weather on record.

According to The Weather Channel, on average, the potential for tornadoes shifts northwestward from the winter months to the Plains states, where the maximum potential typically occurs in May.

Emergency officials say families should have the following items in their storm shelter or in a safe place in case severe weather hits:

  • A whistle
  • A permanent marker
  • A small radio, preferably a self-powered radio
  • A flashlight, preferably a self-powered flashlight
  • A medium-sized pack of batteries
  • Canned food or power bars
  • A hand-powered can opener
  • A few small plastic dishes and silverware
  • Towels and blankets
  • A phone
  • A few water bottles
  • A first aid kit (bandages, cloth, etc.)
  • Money (preferably small bills)
  • A car charger for your cell phone
  • Medicines
  • A spare set of keys to your vehicle and home
  • Extra clothes for each person
  • Anything you may need for pets
  • Anything you may need for children
  • A multipurpose knife
  • Unique needs for your family (such as in case of a medical emergency)

Officials say if space is an issue, then prioritize the list by thinking about what you will need to survive the next 24 hours.

Last year, according to The Weather Channel, April saw one of the largest tornado outbreaks in U.S. history, with a total of 140 tornadoes confirmed by the National Weather Service.

Ten states from Texas to Maryland experienced at least one tornado during the outbreak, which occurred April 12-13, 2020. Thirty-two people died and hundreds of homes were damaged or destroyed.

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