News From Terre Haute, Indiana

March 20, 2014

EDITORIAL: Calm before the storms

It’s never too soon to prepare

The Tribune-Star

TERRE HAUTE — First of two parts

Spring, as the saying goes, has sprung. It happened Thursday, as the March breeze pushed temps into the 50s and set up what promises to be a spectacular day in the mid-60s today.

Having been through a bit of a rough patch this past winter, we deserve it. It wasn’t the worst winter ever, but it certainly wasn’t among the more pleasant.

While cold or even frigid temps haven’t left the Midwest for good, their days are numbered. At this point, we can even tolerate a little more sleet or snow, if that’s what comes our way. It will be only a momentary lapse in the march into spring.

But every time of year has its potential weather challenges, and it would be wise to shift gears immediately so that no severe storm takes you by surprise. Tornado season can be scary. It’s never too soon to get prepared.

This is Severe Weather Preparedness Week, so declared by the Indiana Department of Homeland Security and other state agencies in cooperation with the National Weather Service, American Red Cross, local emergency management agencies and the amateur radio community.

Officials are therefore reminding us that volatile weather frequently accompanies the arrival of spring.

“Historically, Indiana has experienced some of the worst thunderstorms, tornadoes and flooding incidents during the spring months,” according to a statement from the state’s Homeland Security agency. “Planning and preparedness can help minimize weather-related deaths, injuries and property damage.”

So what can you do to be better prepared?

Officials encourage Hoosiers to purchase an all-hazards radio for their home. These battery-powered radios air emergency alerts, including up-to-date information from the National Weather Service.

A disaster preparedness kit is also recommended. It should contain food and water for three days (includes one gallon of water per person, per day); flashlight; extra batteries for radio and flashlight; first aid kit; extra clothing, sturdy shoes, rain gear, blankets, and personal hygiene items;  list of emergency phone numbers; important documents (copies of photo ID, Social Security card, insurance and banking information); cash (small bills); and special items (baby formula, insulin, life-sustaining medication).

The list is simple. But it works only if you do it.

Coming Saturday: If caught in a weather emergency, how quickly do you think help would arrive?