There are certain things in life that you have no control over. The biggest, and sometimes scariest, one is the weather. In Minnesota, the weather can be particularly challenging. Tornadoes, blizzards, and flash floods; we get ‘em all!
When those particularly scary storms come, do you know what to do? If you don’t, never fear; Twin City Kids Club is here to help you learn how to prepare for natural disasters. When disaster looms on the horizon, use the info we have provided here to help you through it.
First things first, let’s go over some of the most common weather concerns and natural disasters we face in the Twin City area and how to prepare for them.
The Wrath of Mother Nature
Wind can be a formidable entity for those of us in Minnesota. When we’re talking wind, the main thing we need to worry about is a tornado
Tornadoes can also be known as twisters or cyclones. They are rapidly rotating columns of air with 2 points of contact. One end touches the earth, and the other end forms the base of a cumulonimbus or cumulus cloud.
Tornadoes range in intensity from F0 to F5. The worst of them can destroy homes and buildings, uproot and throw trees, and flatten anything in their paths.
When a tornado appears in your area, know what to do. Find the most structurally sound part of the house. This place should also be windowless.
Floods are one of the most frequent and costly of the commonly occurring natural disasters. Flooding can happen after heavy rains, as a result of melting snow, or even as a side effect of a hurricane or tropical storm. Flash floods occur in low lying areas.
If a flood is imminent in your area, try to keep current on the latest broadcasts on the storm. You can listen to your local radio or tv station, as long as you have power, for updates. Know where your local emergency shelters are and be prepared to evacuate as necessary.
Snow and ice are no strangers to Twin City citizens. The white stuff is a permanent part of our lives. Sometimes though, winter storms can turn deadly. You need to prepare yourself.
Protecting your pipes from freezing and purchasing a backup generator are two ways to protect your home and family from deadly snow and ice.
For more detailed instructions, check out this informative page from the American Red Cross.
Preparation is Key
App It Up
One of the blessings of living in our modern era is the staggering amount of information we have at our fingertips. Often this information comes in the form of social media news feeds or celebrity news bites, but there are times when an abundance of info can be helpful.
When disaster strikes, your phone can become your lifeline. Some of the most helpful apps you can get are:
- AccuWeather– Keep up to the minute on developing weather
- The Red Cross– Find a variety of apps to help in an emergency, includes disaster specific apps
- FEMA– Find lists of disaster resources, real-time alerts, and safety tips
- Zello– A free, push to talk walkie-talkie app, must have wifi or cellular service
- Life360– A network that allows all family members to connect and find each other in a disaster
- Gasbuddy– Shows you the closest available gas to your location and gives you prices
When disaster strikes, power outages are often unfortunate side effects. Ironically, these are the times you need your connection to the outside world the most. You must do whatever you can to save your phone battery
Here are a few useful battery saving tips:
- If there is a chance of flood, move all of your chargers to the highest plugs in the house
- If your phone has a replaceable battery, have one handy
- Purchase and charge an external battery
- Turn off BlueTooth
- Turn off location services
- When you are not using it, turn off wifi access
- Resist the urge to check your phone too much, only use it when you need it
- If you are with a group of people
- take turns shutting off your phones and designate one person at a time as the phone person
- Remember to write down critical phone numbers before shutting off your phone
- If you must leave your phone on, keep it in airplane mode when you are not using it
- In a pinch, you can use your laptop to charge your phone, even when it’s not plugged in
- In your email settings, disable push setting and switch to fetch setting
- Avoid streaming videos or playing games
- Manually dim your brightness settings
- Whenever possible, text instead of call
One of the worst parts of bad weather is the catastrophic loss of property than can happen. It’s one thing to lose your clothes and furniture; even though it is hard, those things can always be replaced. The real devastation comes from losing all the personal and sentimental artifacts you and your family have compiled over the years.
It is always a good idea to back up your photos. You should gather all your special memories and store them on an external hard drive or memory card. When you know or suspect a natural disaster is imminent, mail your device to an out of town friend or relative.
Another perhaps easier option would be to email your pictures to yourself. Once you have done that, you can save those pictures to your cloud account, google drive, or any other internal hard drive.
It’s never a bad idea to have a go-bag ready for the times when you have to evacuate quickly. You never know when you will need emergency provisions so your go-bag should always be packed and stashed somewhere easily accessible
A few things your go-bag should have:
- The bag itself should be a good quality hiking bag with a lot of pockets
- A self-filtering water bottle
- A hand-crank or solar-powered flashlight
- Non-perishable food items
- A multi-tool that includes a knife, pliers and a can opener
- Strong rope and carabiners
- Warm blanket and change of clothes
We found lots of valuable information about emergency preparations at Shit Women Buy. Check out their article on 12 Emergency Essentials for Your Home. Is your car ready to roll? Read Top Must-Haves for Your Roadside Emergency Kit and get your vehicle ready as well.
At Twin Cities Kids Club we hope that you never have to face any of the natural disasters on this least. Realistically though, the odds are that at some point, you will have to brave the elements and fight the weather. We hope this list helps when that time comes.