September is National Preparedness Month

National Preparedness Month (#NationalPreparednessMonth)

Whenever we are planning an event, whether it is something for today, for tomorrow, for the coming weekend, or maybe further ahead, one of the resources we are likely to resort to is the weather forecast. We can plan and prepare ourselves better if we have an idea of what the weather will be like. Will it be hot, mild, or cold? Will it be sunny, overcast (cloudy), or likely to be wet (rain)? If it’s likely to be wet, how much rain? If it’s likely to be windy, how strong or how gusty is the wind likely to be? 

Having just encountered, or rather endured, the storms of Laura and prior to Laura, Kyle and Josephine, the residents of the Atlantic coast and Gulf coast states must be wondering what Marco, Nana, Omar, and the other storms with predesignated names will bring them, and when. Which states are most likely to be impacted by them is a relatively short list out of the 50 States of the United States of America is a fairly short list: Florida, Georgia, Louisiana, Texas, South Carolina, and maybe North Carolina. But Maryland, Delaware, New Jersey, and even New York might be affected.

The two main questions that need to be answered, but won’t be answered until each storm actually happens are, ‘on which State (or States) will the storm make landfall?’ and ‘How bad will it be?” The weather forecasters can definitely help with their predictions which in the final day or two prior to landfall do help authorities and residents make decisions about what action to take. But you know the authorities and residents in all of the most likely impacted states – the usual suspects on might say – have already made plans for most eventualities.

But what about other states? While the States that are inland from the Atlantic and Gulf Coast States might not be directly impacted by Atlantic Tropical Cyclones, aka Atlantic Storms, they have their own challenges; the challenge of dealing with tornadoes, aka twisters.

These two maps of the USA show which states are most likely to have tornadoes (the states in red, of course) and which states are most likely to have thunderstorms.

How do you prepare for a tornado? How about preparing for a thunderstorm where lightning strikes are a concern? For a tornado, an underground shelter is probably the safest, and that is something you have to plan and prepare in advance.

(Here is the source for these maps which are interactive and allow you to select the various categories of natural disaster:

Further west, States are more likely to have to deal with drought, earthquakes, and wildfires. Welcome to California to where I live. But notice that earthquakes also occur in the south-east, and the Tri-state area of Tennessee, Arkansas, and Mississippi, which sit astride the New Madrid Seismic Zone, is recognized as the ‘Earthquake Epicenter’ of the south-east. However, earthquakes are not nearly as frequent or as large as earthquakes are in California, Arizona, Oregon,and the north-west.

Now, when it comes to the winter months, all of the States from west to east north of the southern states are impacted by winter storms. For many, that means planning on being isolated, unable to go grocery shopping, and there’ll be few if any delivery services. Planning travel when ice, snow and fog are forecasted will certainly force changes in routines and plans.

So, the purpose of this blog post which recognizes  National Preparedness Month was simply to share that wherever you call home and plan to travel, mother nature may be inviting you to take positive action and prepare according to what you are most likely to encounter given the location and the time of year, whether nighttime or daytime.

Plan – Prepare – Stay Safe

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