Even though its October, its still hurricane season.

Credit: NBC News

Tropical Storm Karen is currently threatening the Gulf Coast and will hit land soon.  Regardless of whether it remains a tropical storm or becomes a hurricane, this storm is going to cause damage in the area.  If you live in the Southeastern US, hopefully you are prepared for what’s coming.

Storms like Karen represent a multifaceted threat to people who live near coastal areas.  Tropical Storms/Hurricanes can have a devastating impact due to:

  • Storm Surge
  • High Winds
  • Inland Flooding
  • Blackouts
  • Water contamination
  • Infrastructure damage

If you want to learn more about how to prepare for these, check out the NOAA website on Hurricane Preparedness.  Its a great resource that goes into much more depth and provides helpful details for those who live in coastal areas.  Even if you live inland, take some time to learn about the after affects of tropical storms and hurricanes.  Often times these storm can spawn heavy rains, flooding, tornadoes, and high winds far from the coast.

The good news is that these storms move relatively slowly, which gives people time to evacuate if necessary.  Make sure you have at least a half tank of fuel in your vehicle, have your go-bag packed, and keep your ears open for any evacuation announcements.  If you are ready, getting out of the storm’s path will be a minor inconvenience that will lead to safety.

According to the Farmer’s Almanac, the coming winter could be a cold one.

Credit: Farmer’s Almanac

If the predictions are correct, most of the US will experience a cold and snow-filled winter this year.  As you can see on the map, some areas are projected to receive less snow than others but the overall prediction stands.

Now whether the weather predictions come true or not is secondary to a key preparation principal.  One must be prepared for all weather conditions, especially as winter draws near.  Having extra firewood, fuel, blankets, food, and other supplies is a matter of survival for most of the country.  Its always better to have more supplies on-hand and not need them than not have enough.  Winters can be cruel, especially for those who aren’t prepared.

Keep another thing in mind too.  Even if you live in the Southwest or West Coast, you can still be impacted by severe cold.  During extreme cold, energy demand can spike as heating demand increases.  This will impact the price of fuel and other goods in areas not affected by winter weather.  Also, manufacturing and agricultural production could be affected by interruptions in the supply chain when bad weather hits.  As I’m fond of saying, plan accordingly.

Regardless of what this winter’s weather will be, take steps now to prepare for it.

If you see this, its too late to prepare…

Credit: Onstar

As we saw last week, tornadoes can wreak havoc when they strike populated areas.  However, you can take steps now to protect yourself from them.  You can read more by going to ready.gov and reading their pages that discuss tornado preparedness.  There is more good information over at the CDC and the Weather Channel regarding tornadoes as well.  The Red Cross also publishes a handy, one-page Tornado Safety Checklist that you can view or download here.

There are also some important things to keep in mind when it comes to tornadoes.  Often times, heavy rain and hail accompany the storms that spawn tornadoes.  While the destructive path of a twister can be relatively narrow, the storms can be hundreds of miles wide and cause significant damage.  The rain, hail, and wind is more likely to cause damage to people and property, which needs to be accounted for in any tornado preparedness plan.

The aftermath of a tornado is something that needs to be accounted for as well.  Many times power lines are downed, causing loss of electricity for days or even weeks.  Roads can be blocked by fallen trees or other debris too.  The rain storms can also cause flooding that can wash out roads, bridges, and damage structures in low-lying areas.  While the tornado may only last a few minutes, the after affects will last much longer.  Here are some items you may want to have on-hand if you live in or near Tornado Alley:

  • Radio with NOAA weatherband
  • Flashlights and extra batteries
  • Water and food for three days (MREs, Datrex rations, granola bars, etc.)
  • First Aid kit
  • Medication
  • Cash
  • Chainsaw and fuel
  • Portable generator and fuel

Take some time today to read through some of these links and start making your tornado preparedness plans.

Bonus:  Here is a good article about what to do if you are in your car during a tornado.