LUBBOCK, Texas — KAMC Meteorologist Jacob Riley has a look at this year’s spring severe weather season, and gives us a few tips on how to prepare!
Severe weather is just around the corner! In the South Plains, our typical severe weather season lasts from the middle of March through early July. With an active severe weather season expected, now is the time to make a safety plan for you and your family. There are several things you can do in order to prepare. We’ll go over the best options to keep you and your family safe during hail storms, flash floods, damaging wind events and tornadoes. One way you can protect your family safe from all of these events is with a NOAA Weather Radio.
NOAA Weather Radios are made to save lives. These radios can be purchased at any several different retail stores, or online. NOAA Weather Radios are designed to alert you when a severe weather advisory is issued for your specific location. For most people, this is in the form of a loud alert. NOAA also has a few options for those who suffer from hearing loss, or who are hard of hearing. These devices are fantastic at getting warning information out during the overnight hours, waking you and your family when a severe storm is headed your way! Now is the time to purchase a NOAA weather radio, and program it for your specific location. You can follow this link to find out what frequency to set your radio to.
Everyone needs to have a safety plan set up with their loved ones. This would include you having a designated meeting place in case any of you are separated during a severe weather event. Have a safety bag filled with things such as flashlights, a first aid kit, a mobile weather radio, and three days worth of clothing and food for each member of your family. Also make sure to wear hard-toed shoes just in case you come in contact with any storm damage or debris. Now is also the time to decide where to seek shelter during times of severe weather. You do not want to wait until a watch or warning is issued to decide where you and your family will seek shelter. Make sure to always seek shelter in a sturdy structure with a permanent foundation. If you’re able to, a storm shelter or safe room is the best place to ride out severe storms.
Large hail, damaging winds and tornadoes are all normal, and sometime frequent, occurrences in West Texas each year. This year, we could see an increased amount of activity across the KAMC viewing area. Our current climate pattern supports a La Niña pattern, which typically results in an increased risk of severe weather across the South Plains. Research has proven that a La Niña causes warmer, more humid air to become more abundant in our region. This typically results in a greater amount of the necessary ingredients for severe storm development.
Damaging winds, large hail and tornadoes can all be prepared for in the same way. When a severe thunderstorm warning, or tornado warning is issued for your location, you need to head inside to seek shelter in a sturdy building, preferably one on a permanent foundation. Find an interior room that has no outdoor walls or windows in it. The objective with this is to put as many walls between you and the outside of your home as possible. This will keep any debris that is kicked up by strong winds from coming into your home’s walls or windows. Keep your safety bag and weather radio with you while you seek shelter, so that you can continually be updated on the conditions in case you lose access to your mobile phone and internet.
This spring, the KAMC Storm Team urges you to stay up to date with our current forecast. You do not need to be caught off-guard during severe weather season. On days of severe weather, it will be best to stay home, so you are not caught off guard by severe storms on the road. Being trapped in severe weather in your vehicle puts your safety at a much greater risk. If you are caught outside during times of inclement weather, seek shelter in a sturdy structure immediately! NEVER stop your vehicle under an overpass to avoid hail. This creates an additional hazard, and could create major accidents.
The best way to keep your family safe this severe weather season is to start making your safety plan now. Keep it tuned to the KAMC Storm Team! We will be here through it all to keep your family safe.