Tips to Prepare for a Thunderstorm (Climate Change Edition)

Reader Contribution by Kayla Matthews
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Does it seem like storms are more severe and occur more frequently today than in the past? There might be something to that claim. Various scientists, environmental groups and government leaders point to evidence that suggests our warming atmosphere may be causing more extreme weather.

Climate Change and Storms

Climate models have for a long time predicted one of the effects of climate change would be more extreme weather events. Scientists are now starting to see those predictions coming true.

The earth has started to experience a growing number of increasingly intense heat waves, thunderstorms, rainfall, flooding, winter storms, tornadoes, hurricanes, droughts and wildfires. According to the Environmental Protection Agency, nine out of the top 10 years for one-day extreme precipitation events have occurred since 1990.

The United States experienced 32 weather events between 2011 and 2013 that led to damages of at least $1 billion. Climate change is starting to more directly affect the lives of everyday people, and it’s getting their attention.

Other Impacts of Climate Change

Some weather events are more closely linked to climate change than others. The Union of Concerned Scientists say that there’s the strongest evidence for a connection between climate change and:

1. Heat waves

2. Coastal flooding

3. Extreme precipitation events

4. Extreme drought

Climate change could reduce the difference in temperature between the poles and the equator by increasing the level of water vapor in the air. This will lead to warmer temperatures and cause the biggest change outside the equator, where it’s not already humid.

Tips for Severe Thunderstorms

As far as storms go, reducing this temperature difference may lead to less frequent storms overall but increase the intensity of storms.

The International Panel on Climate Change wants governments to help prepare their citizens for extreme weather events and released a report aimed at helping them do that. Here are a few tips that you can use to prepare yourself for severe thunderstorms.

Stay Informed. Always be on the lookout for storms, especially if you plan on being outside for a long period of time. Check the weather report before going out. If there’s a chance of a storm, take an AM/FM or NOAA weather radio with you. Watch for signs of an incoming storms when you’re outside as well.

Be Prepared. You should always have necessities on hand you might need in the case of severe weather. Put together an emergency preparedness kit that includes a flashlight with extra batteries, food, water and a first aid kit as well as any essential medications. You might also want to have backup phone chargers and a generator in case the power goes out. It’s important to figure out what size generator you need before investing in one. This applies to both home generators and those used for businesses.

Find Shelter. When the storm starts, find the most protective shelter you can. If you’re inside, get into a secure room with no windows and stay away from doors and off porches. You should also avoid lying on concrete floors or leaning against concrete walls.

If you’re outside, avoid taking shelter under trees. If you’re driving, pull to the side of the road in a safe spot and stay in the vehicle but try not to touch anything metal.

Avoid Water. Water conducts electricity, so stay away from it as much as possible. If you are on open water, get to shore and then get far from the water. If you’re inside, don’t use plumbing to wash hands or take a shower.

Don’t Use Electronics. Avoid using electronics connected to power during a storm. Anything that’s plugged in could potentially be harmful. Turn off equipment like air conditioners and desktop computers if possible before a storm to avoid a power surge.

Tips for After the Storm

If you encounter any downed power lines, don’t touch them as they may contain live electricity. Check on people who might need extra help such as children and the elderly. Seek out updates by using a radio.

Thunderstorms can be dangerous, especially when they’re severe. Because climate change may increase the severity of storms, it’s even more important now than ever to be prepared for the possibility of an extreme storm event.

Photo credit: Unsplash

Kayla Matthews writes and blogs about healthy living and has an especially strong passion for helping others increase their mental health and happiness by improving their daily productivity and positivity. To learn more about Kayla, you can follow her on Google+Facebook and Twitter and check out her most recent posts oProductivity Theory. Read all of her MOTHER EARTH NEWS posts here.

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