Summer means vacation, outdoor activities, and fun in the Sun! It’s a time when families hit the road to visit national parks or distant relatives. The sultry temperatures practically invite you to take a dip in the pool, lake or ocean. But don’t let the sunny days and warm nights fool you. Summer also holds significant weather hazards. Heat waves can be lengthy and deadly. Lightning deaths are at their peak during the summer. And beach hazards such as rip currents can catch the unprepared.
This summer, the National Weather Service and the Farmers’ Almanac want you to be prepared for the following summer weather hazards:
- Severe Weather/Thunderstorms
- Rip Currents and Other Beach Hazards
- Poor Air Quality
But you’re not powerless in the face of these hazards. With just a few simple steps, you can become weather-ready. For example:
Know Your Risk
Being prepared means learning about summer weather hazards such as hurricanes, heat, lightning, rip currents, air quality, and wildfires. Here’s what you need to know:
- Since 2003, 43 states within the continental United States have come under a tornado watch; 49 states have come under severe thunderstorm watches, and lightning strikes occur in every state.
- Heat waves are common across the country during the summer. They are dangerous because the human body cannot cool itself properly when exposed to an extreme combination of heat and humidity.
- In 2018, there were 20 lightning fatalities.
- The United States Lifesaving Association estimates that more than 100 people each year die in the surf zone waters of the U.S. and that rip currents cause the majority of those fatalities. Rip currents are just one of many beach hazards.
- Wildfires kill 30 people, destroy 2,800 homes and burn more than 7 million acres, on average, per year.
- Flash flooding is the number one killer associated with severe weather.
- Air pollution can make it harder for people with asthma and other respiratory diseases to breathe. Children and teens may be more sensitive than adults to the health effects caused by air pollution. According to the EPA, poor air quality is responsible in the U.S. for an estimated 60,000 premature deaths each year.
While the weather may be wild, you are not powerless. Prepare for summer hazards with these simple steps:
You may have only minutes to find shelter before a tornado strikes. Practice a family tornado drill at least once a year.
- Protect yourself from extreme heat by rescheduling outdoor activities to earlier in the day.
- There is no safe place outside when lightning is in the area. If you hear thunder, you are likely within striking distance of the storm. Just remember, When Thunder Roars, Go Indoors.
- Stay safe from rip currents and other beach hazards by only swimming at a beach with lifeguards and heed their direction. Learn how to survive a rip current.
- If you live near wildland areas, make sure your home is Firewise and fire-safe. Also, determine evacuation routes from your home. Visit weather.gov to determine if your area is at risk for dangerous fire weather conditions.
- Whether on foot or in a car, if you encounter flood waters, Turn Around, Don’t Drown!
- Make sure to check the Air Quality Index for your area here. If the air quality is poor, avoid prolonged or extreme exertion outdoors.
Be a Force of Nature
Your action can inspire others. Be a Force of Nature and share how you’re working to stay safe from weather hazards this summer.
- Write a post on Facebook. Share with your friends and family the preparedness steps you’re taking to stay safe this summer.
- Tweet that you’re prepared with #SummerSafety. Tell us what you’re doing to be prepared for summer hazards.
- Create a Family Communication Plan so that your loved ones know how to get in touch during an emergency. And let your friends know that they should create a plan also.
- Look for ways to help your town prepare, such as volunteering with the American Red Cross or joining a Community Emergency Response Team.
- Register for America’s PrepareAthon! to learn how to stay safe during disasters.
Reprinted with permission from the National Weather Service, Green Bay