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4 things you can do now to prepare for severe weather

Safety is your first concern. Here's what you can do in advance of the storms.
Credit: Getty Images/iStockphoto
Over head Shot of rain cloud ; weather change

Severe storms could be in our near future. There are several things you can do right now to be prepared in case inclement weather heads in your area.

1) Have a plan

While often we know that severe weather could be on its way well in advance, the storms themselves -- including tornadoes -- often pop up quickly. Knowing what to do is critical. 

Do you know where your weather shelter/safe room is located? Do you have a severe weather survival kit (click here for a list of recommended items). Does your family

In a severe storm, you want to put as many walls between you and danger as possible. A basement or interior closet is often the safest place you can be.

If you are inside a mobile home, leave well in advance of the approaching severe weather and go to a strong building. If there is no shelter nearby, get into the nearest ditch, low spot or underground culvert. Lie flat, covering your head with your hands for protection.

If you are in a vehicle or outdoors when tornadoes are possible, limit your outdoor plans or finish them early.

Stay close to a sturdy shelter. If caught outside, find shelter in a ditch or remain in your vehicle and cover your head for protection. Do not take shelter under a highway overpass, where wind speeds can increase due to a tunneling effect. It is best not to put yourself or others in a situation where no sturdy shelter is available.

Remember, stay away from doors, windows, outside walls and protect your head!

Here are some resources to help you get ready:

How to prepare for severe weather

Be prepared: Severe weather safety tips

Red Cross tornado safety checklist

Ready.gov Family emergency plan

Practice your plan!

2) Sign up for weather alerts

Getting information quickly during a weather is vital. The fastest way to stay up to date is via your phone. Download an app that will send you weather alerts as soon as they are issued. We are partial to the 11Alive News app, which you can download for free right here, because not only will you receive weather alerts, we'll also send you other information that's important to know before, during and after the storm. But even if you choose another app, make sure that you set up the notifications to receive the weather alerts.

A NOAA Weather Radio is also a good idea to receive updated information.

3) Understand different weather alerts

During severe weather, it's important to know the difference between watches, warnings and other alerts.

Before severe weather, you'll hear the 11Alive Storm Trackers refer to convective outlooks from the National Weather Service's Storm Prediction Center. This includes a sliding scale of categories of risk for severe weather.  Click here for an explanation of what they mean.

RELATED: Understanding severe weather: What's a Marginal Risk, what's a Slight Risk?

When the storm arrives, or is about to arrive, you'll hear about watches and warnings.

A Watch indicates that conditions are favorable for severe weather. These are often issued before a warning.

A Warning means that the event is occurring, imminent or likely. If you hear of a warning, it is time to take action immediately to save lives and property.

4) Charge your devices

Losing power is a definite possibility during severe weather. You want to make sure you that you charge your devices now so that you can continue to receive critical information during power outages. 

After a storm, remember: never pull tree limbs, telephone or cable lines off of power lines yourself or attempt to move a downed power line. Call (888) 891-0938 to report a downed line or contact your local authorities or dial 911. 

RELATED: Remove objects that could cause damage during severe weather

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