Prepare for bad side of warmer weather

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, December 11, 2007

&8220;Don&8217;t knock the weather; nine-tenths of the people couldn&8217;t start a conversation if it didn&8217;t change once in a while.&8221;

&8212; Kin Hubbard

Even with fallen leaves covering the ground and Christmas decorations adorning many homes throughout Shelby County, it is easy to confuse mid-December with mid-summer in climates like this.

Gardening in shorts, two weeks before Christmas, seems like an activity for people living in Key West, Fla., not central Alabama. Being a sometimes worrywart, unseasonable weather

always turns my attention to severe storms.

Below you will find practical information from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) and Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA):

– Conduct tornado drills each tornado season.

– Designate an area in the home as a shelter and practice having everyone go there in response to a tornado threat. In a home or building, move to a pre-designated shelter, such as a basement. If an underground shelter is not available, move to an interior room or hallway on the lowest floor and get under a sturdy piece of furniture.

-Stay away from windows.

-Get out of automobiles.

-Discuss the difference between a &8220;tornado watch&8221; and a &8220;tornado warning.&8221;

-Have disaster supplies on hand such as a flashlight,

first aid kit, emergency food and water, nonelectric can opener, essential medicines, cash and credit cards, sturdy shoes and extra batteries.

-Have a NOAA Weather Radio with a warning alarm tone and battery back up to receive warnings.

-In case family members are separated from one another during a tornado, have a plan for getting back together.

-Mobile homes are particularly vulnerable. A mobile home can overturn very easily even if precautions have been taken to tie down the unit. When a tornado warning is issued, take shelter in a building with a strong foundation. If shelter is not available, lie in ditch or low-lying area a safe distance away from the unit.

Once your severe weather plan is in place, you can go back to working on that summer tan on the back deck &045;&045; at least until the weather changes again