Six actions you can take to battle extreme weather

USA Today | Thomas M. Kostigen

Extreme weather may be unpredictable, but what is certain is we all must prepare for it.

Whether it’s cold temperatures, which have befallen typically temperature southern California, or tornadoes that are encroaching upon the Northeast — a place not known for land cyclones — we should learn to expect the unexpected these days.

Here are six things you can do to become more weather resilient:

  • Pledge to prepare. The National Preparedness Community is hosted by the Federal Emergency Management Agency and is a place where you can connect with others, learn about best practices to prepare for storms and more. There is no cost to join. By taking the pledge, you are allowed access to myriad resources, workshops, meetings and can sign up to receive updates from emergency management professionals.
  • Make your home more resilient. How you build your home and where it sits on a piece of land is equally as important to your safety as your individual actions before, during and after a storm. Thought-through building practices can thwart damage to you and your family, as well as others. For example, reinforcing your house to tornado standards can lessen the chance that flying debris from your yard will harm neighbors. Have your home engineered properly for the environment in which you live.

Industrial-scale farms are a major source of land degradation because they often practice monoculture farming, which deprives the soil of nutrients and makes it weaker. This makes land more susceptible to flooding. We lose about 1% of our topsoil every year from erosion, and farming is a major factor in that erosion. Local farmers often practice more organic farming techniques that keeps soil healthier and more resistant to storm damage.

  • If you go for a hike or bike ride, stay on marked paths. Delicate habitats and vegetation can be destroyed, which weakens soil and causes dust. That is how dust storms or haboobs are born.
  • Don’t let your car idle, or “warm up.” It may seem like a convenient way to keep warm when it becomes cold outside, but it’s a waste of fuel and causes pollution. Most modern automobile engines don’t need a lot of time to “warm up.” If you have an older car or truck, consider using engine block heaters or interior “car warmers” to keep yourself warm.
  • Get a weather radio. The NOAA Weather Radio All Hazards is a special receiver that alerts you when there is a weather event in your area. It provides a steady stream of weather reports from the National Weather Service and is a smart safety information tool to keep on hand.

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Thomas M. Kostigen is the founder of TheClimateSurvivalist.com and a New York Times bestselling author and journalist. He is the National Geographic author of “Extreme Weather Survival Guide: Understand, Prepare, Survive, Recover” and the NG Kids book, “Extreme Weather: Surviving Tornadoes, Tsunamis, Hailstorms, Thundersnow, Hurricanes and More!” Follow him @weathersurvival, or email kostigen@theclimatesurvivalist.com.

Source: USA Today

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