LA CROSSE, Wisconsin (WXOW) - Severe weather can happen at any time of the day, in any month out of the year, and in all 50 states. According to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, there were more than 450 weather related fatalities and over 26 hundred injuries in 2012.
In 2013, March 3rd through 9th is National Severe Weather Preparedness Week. Are you ready?
"Even though this is still a transitory period between winter and spring," said Alex Kirchner, Daybreak Meteorologist. "This is the time to start thinking ahead and being proactive when it comes to severe weather later in the year."
One of the fundamental ways you can prepare for severe weather is know the risks in your area and the proper way to deal with them.
"It's the time of year," said Todd Shea, Warning Coordination Meteorologist at the La Crosse National Weather Service. "We need to start thinking about what severe thunderstorms can do, talk about flooding and lightning risks and of course tornadoes and other dangers with thunderstorms."
It is equally important to stay informed on the current conditions and forecasts.
"Track television weather or use the internet or use some kind of source to get weather updates and keep tabs on the weather," said Shea. "Especially if it's a day when you're hearing about or seeing forecasts that severe weather is possible that day because getting that advanced notices is the initial step."
If you're traveling, make sure to stay up to date on the latest weather conditions, and know where you can seek shelter on the road. Mobile weather apps and weather radios are great ways to do stay informed when you're away from home.
"Is your weather radio up in working? Is it in great order? Is it still receiving signals?" said Kirchner. "Does your smartphone have something like the WXOW Weather App, some way to alert you if you're on the go and severe weather is coming?"
Weather radios can also be used at home or the office to alert you of weather threats at night and when you aren't expecting severe weather.
When severe weather does strike it's also vital to have a plan. Discuss this with your friends, family, and neighbors and make sure they have a plan too.
"Generally moving inside is one of the first key steps because that will keep you safe from things like hail and lightning threats and some of the other dangers of severe weather," said Shea. If we're talking about tornado activity, you typically want to get to a basement or into a lower-level, interior room, putting as many walls between you and the storm as possible."
Statewide tornado drills will be held at the end of March in Iowa, and mid-April in Wisconsin and Minnesota in conjunction with state severe weather awareness weeks.
"Wherever you're at," said Shea, "just kind of think about what you would do if there was a tornado moving on into your region."
More information about National Severe Weather Preparedness week and how you can prepare for severe weather you can visit the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration's Weather-Ready Nation website at http://www.nws.noaa.gov/com/weatherreadynation/.
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