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Tornadoes and hurricanes: Preparing for the next bout of bad weather

Thursday - 6/6/2013, 7:50am  ET

Be prepared for disaster to strike. (Courtesy of Karen Lebing)

WASHINGTON - Recent twisters in Oklahoma are a reminder that preparation is critical, because bad weather can strike just about anywhere.

Hurricane season also is officially here, and Tropical Storm Andrea has prompted a warning for a swath of the East Coast, all the way to Cape Charles Light in Virginia.

To help you prepare for the possibility of bad weather, WTOP's David Burd recently sat down with Seamus Mooney, director of the Department of Emergency Preparedness for Frederick County, Md.

Mooney shared the following advice:

  • First thing you absolutely have to do: Get a weather alert on your smartphone. WTOP has news alerts that include weather alerts.
  • Prepare kits -- one for your home, car and place of work. Why so many? If a tornado warning hits, you may not be at home. You might be in your car or at the office.
  • What's in the kit?
    • A three-to-five day supply of water and nonperishable food (including for your pets)
    • Three to five days of clothes and another pair of shoes.
    • Flashlights and a battery-operated radio (so you can listen to WTOP for weather news)
  • Get to the lowest level of your house (We're talking basement if you have one. And if you don't, get to an interior room away from windows.)
  • It is better to text than to call during a weather event. Lines will be busy if they work at all. Texting is the best bet.
  • Make a plan today for what to do in case of a weather emergency, not the day it happens. Most importantly, if the family is not all at home during the weather emergency, figure out a rally point where you will all meet up later. Talk about what you will do if you find yourself away from home, and discuss where to meet after the weather passes.
  • Lastly, when you hear a tornado or severe weather warning in your area, take action immediately. Sometimes if you're lucky, you will have only about 15 minutes. Do not become a weather tourist and take these warnings lightly.

Frederick County has learned from past weather events and has been watching Oklahoma and its aftermath. Mooney tells WTOP that the county has contingencies for just about everything: blocked highways, fallen power lines, etc.

WTOP also has a list here of what to have on hand during a snowstorm. Many of the same things apply for bad summer weather.

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