South Dakotans: Are You Prepared for Tornado Season?
As winter gives way to spring, it's important to remember that the next few months are quite active for severe weather and possible tornadoes. Historically, April, May, and June spin up hundreds of tornadoes in the Midwest, including South Dakota. One thing that keeps popping up in weather data is that the Gulf of Mexico is very warm. And when that happens the risk of more severe weather increases.
With that in mind, it's a good time to have a family plan put together.
NEED TO KNOW: Don’t Believe These Common South Dakota Tornado Myths
When school dismisses kids for summer break and parents are working day jobs, make sure your kids know what to do when severe weather strikes. According to the CDC, go to the basement or an inside room without windows on the lowest floor (bathroom, closet, center hallway). If possible, avoid sheltering in any room with windows. For added protection gets under something sturdy (a heavy table or workbench). Cover your body with a blanket, sleeping bag, or mattress.
You don't have to break the bank to put together an emergency kit. Putting an emergency kit together now means you'll be ready and can focus on safety instead of scrambling to find things when the sirens are going off. Find an extra large backpack or storage tub and include a few basic necessities like these:
Tool kit. Channel your inner MacGyver using pliers, screwdriver, adjustable wrench, pocketknife, duct tape, and rope. Your ingenuity may surprise you in extreme circumstances.
Flashlight. A flashlight with extra batteries is a must.
Food and water. Energy bars, protein bars, candy, dried fruits, and nuts keep for a long time and make a good food source. Gallon jugs or cases of bottles water are a very good idea. One gallon per person is recommended.
First aid kit. Keep a fully stocked first-aid kit and an extra supply of vitamins.
Cell phone chargers and power banks.
AM/FM radio. A solar panel with a crank or battery-powered radio will keep you informed on the changing weather and local emergency efforts.
READ MORE: Looking Back at the Sioux Falls Tornados of September 2019
More resources can be found at the National Weather Service and American Home Shield which offers a deeper analysis of preparing for severe weather.
KEEP READING: What to do after a tornado strikes
TIPS: Here's how you can prepare for power outages