It’s storm season again

Common sense, preparation invaluable

By The Mercury

Not so long ago, many of us wondered if spring would ever get here. Well, it’s here, and so far it’s delightful. Flowering trees and shrubs are adding color to complement rich green lawns, birds do their best to sing us awake and there are treats for our olfactory sense as well.

As most Kansans are aware, spring also can bring storms powerful enough to cause great damage and even loss of life. These storms are serious enough that emergency personnel review their preparedness and responses annually. Given that we’ve already had a thunderstorm and can expect more, families would be wise to take similar precautions.

Among our most valuable assets is common sense. Being aware of the forecast and being able to recognize storm clouds and even super cells are invaluable.

Thunderstorms are truly awesome occurrences, and the rain, lightning, hail and sometimes powerful winds that can accompany severe thunderstorms can cause considerable damage. At the first sign of lightning or clap of thunder, head indoors and remain there until the danger has passed. That’s true whether you’re golfing, playing baseball or doing yardwork. If you’re in your vehicle, you’re generally safe there.

Tornadoes, though less frequent than thunderstorms, are in a category of their own. Know that a tornado watch means conditions exist to foster tornadoes and that a tornado warning means one has been spotted by a person or detected on radar nearby. Sirens wail in such circumstances and warn residents to seek immediate shelter.

Because severe thunderstorms and tornadoes can occur when family members are scattered, families would be wise to make arrangements in advance about getting to safe places and contacting one another, and, eventually, reuniting.

And because severe storms can knock out power — sometimes for days — families also should compile emergency supply kits (in addition to kits kept in automobiles). Although each family’s needs are different, basic kits ought to start with one gallon of water per person per day and enough nonperishable food to last three days. Other essentials include a first aid kit, flashlights, a radio and extra batteries.

Chances are, you won’t need these items, but if you do, nothing else will suffice.

We’d like to enjoy a relatively quiet spring, one filled with beauty, balmy temperatures and regular rains — but we have to be ready for whatever comes.

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