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How To Be Prepared For Severe Weather Season

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Mike Augustyniak spoke with NOAA meteorologist Douglas Hilderbrand, part of the Weather Ready Nation program which encourages people to be ready for the storm by planning in advance where to go when severe weather hits (3:24) WCCO 4 Saturday Morning - March 27, 2021

Video Transcript

MIKE AUGUSTYNIAK: --may hear some rumbles of Thunder today, but I'm not expecting any severe weather. As we saw just a few weeks ago, though, we are already in that time of year when damaging storms can occur. I spoke with NOAA meteorologist Douglas Hilderbrand, part of the Weather Ready Nation Program, that encourages people to be ready for the storm and buy planning in advance where to go when severe weather hits.

[SIREN BLARING]

DOUGLAS HILDERBRAND: We can hope for the best, but we should be planning for the worst.

[LIGHTENING STRIKE]

So you want to look at, you know, underground for this most severe weather with tornadoes. Basements are good options. But if you don't have a basement or a storm, you know, shelter or safe room, you really want to get to an interior room without windows and as many walls between you and the outdoors as possible.

Mobile homes, manufactured homes, and your vehicle are very vulnerable to extreme weather or very high winds. So you want to-- number one, you want to make a plan ahead of time kind of get away from those options and seek options that, you know, will work best for you.

It could be a public shelter. It's could be a neighbor's home or a neighbor's shelter. And it even could be, you know, things like the, you know, the town center or a shopping district that has, you know, brick and concrete construction.

MIKE AUGUSTYNIAK: Do you recommend people bring with them any specific items when they shelter, save, during a tornado warning?

DOUGLAS HILDERBRAND: So you want that flashlight. You know, you may even want to bring some bottled water, an emergency kit like first aid. But then also bring things-- if you have pets, you know, obviously bring your pet. But then also bring, you know, things that are going to comfort your pets because they'll be going through, you know, a scary time as well.

MIKE AUGUSTYNIAK: A lot of people do sort of think about where to go when they're home, but they don't think about what to do when they're elsewhere.

DOUGLAS HILDERBRAND: Absolutely. So the number one step is always be connected to information. TV, internet, your National Weather Service, NOAA Weather Radio, all great sources of information. The apps on your phones can help keep you connected, gives you that time and that ability to plan ahead.

MIKE AUGUSTYNIAK: In the US, the National Weather Service on average gives us 12 to 14 minutes' worth of lead time for a tornado warning. So that really means that wherever you're going to go, you need to be able to get there in five minutes or less, which is why planning ahead is so important. And that sort of bring us to April 7, which is Safe Place Selfie Day. Explain what we're supposed to do on April 7.

DOUGLAS HILDERBRAND: One, think about your local hazards, what's most common. But also what are those hazards that maybe you don't think about all the time? Two, is identify that safe place. It's called Safe Place Selfie because we want you thinking more about where there are good places to go and bad places to go. When it comes to preparedness, many will argue that it's your location and being able to get to safety that is the most important preparedness message.

And then number three, you want to-- we want to be able to encourage others to do the exact same. So posting over social media is a fantastic way to, you know, challenge your family, challenge friends, challenge your co-workers to be better prepared.

So Weather Ready Nation is all about having a good story at the end of the day, when it comes to extreme weather. It's communities. It's businesses. It's individuals. Takes the whole community approach to really build that community resilience.

MIKE AUGUSTYNIAK: We'll be participating. If you post a Safe Place Selfie on April 7, be sure to use the hashtag and tag your friends, family, and "WCCO." We'll be sharing some of those pictures on air and online throughout the day. Go to wcco.com/links to learn about what and when to post. And you can also learn how you or your organization can become a Weather Ready Nation ambassador. Jen.

JENNIFER MAYERLE: Just some really good information there, Mike. It's always good to have a refresher on things that we should do during this time of the year.

MIKE AUGUSTYNIAK: When it comes to covering severe weather, we need to refresh every year as meteorologists. So we know that, you know, if you're just sitting home enjoying our newscast and enjoying summer, you probably need a refresher as well. Happy to help.

JENNIFER MAYERLE: Yeah, good time for families to maybe start talking about their plans.

MIKE AUGUSTYNIAK: Yep.

JENNIFER MAYERLE: Thank you, Mike.