Preparing for severe weather

Spring is a wonderful time in Ohio — but it can change from beautiful to deadly before you know it.

Buckeye State residents were fortunate last week. At least 18 tornadoes touched down in western Ohio on Monday, the National Weather Service confirmed, but no fatalities were reported.

That outbreak was just one of numerous severe weather events that have battered the nation over the past two weeks. Tornadoes have struck from Texas to New Jersey, hail has pounded locations across the country and flooding has inundated the Midwest.

Any or all of those things could occur right here in Eastern Ohio at any moment.

History has shown us how dangerous Mother Nature can be in the Ohio Valley. Tornadoes and microbursts have flattened buildings and torn trees from the ground. Flash flooding, like the walls of water that tore down Pipe and Wegee creeks in 1990, has washed away entire communities and claimed many lives.

And many of these incidents have occurred at this time of year.

There is nothing we can do to stop these events from happening, but we can help protect ourselves and our loved ones by being prepared for them.

There are many steps we can take to ensure we are ready for the worst. And there are many resources available to help us become better Informed about what those steps are.

A few of the things we can do include:

– Creating an emergency kit filled with supplies that will help us survive for a few days without power, running water or the ability to communicate with others. It should include things like blankets, clothing, prescription medications, first aid supplies, a flashlight, a battery-powered radio and more.

– Identifying a safe shelter or gathering spot where our families can come together and find one another in a crisis.

– Monitoring local newscasts and emergency announcements when severe weather is likely.

– Learning the signs of severe weather and the meanings of watches and warnings.

For more information on how to prepare for dangerous weather, go online to Ready.gov or weathersafety.ohio.gov or look up information provided by the National Weather Service.

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