Ready to take action when severe weather strikes?


SALT LAKE CITY (ABC4) – While Utah’s severe weather may not be a storm chaser’s dream, we still get our fair share of it and it can cause issues if you are not prepared.

The Beehive State can still expect to see a range of severe weather events ranging from excessive heat to the one-off tornado, with everything in between.

Wade Mathews, Manager of “Be Ready Utah”, tells us why it is important to know what our threats are ahead of time.

“We encourage people to always be aware of the risks that we face where we live and in Utah the biggest risk for widespread disaster damage is an earthquake. But we can have all kinds of incidents severe weather, we know we can have tornadoes in Utah since the August 1999 tornado that hit Salt Lake City,” Mathews explains.

Other severe weather event in Utah include flash floods, severe thunderstorms with damaging winds and hail, and even high winds. This is why federal and state agencies like the National Weather Service and Be Ready Utah always want residents to be prepared and have an actionable plan when things begin to get a bit dangerous. Campaigns such as the most famous ‘When thunder roars, head indoors’, ‘Great Utah Shake Out’, and even the today’s ‘Safe Place Selfie’ are promoted to help bring this awareness to the public.

Christine Kruse, Lead Meteorologist at the National Weather Service in Salt Lake City, explains why being prepared ahead of time is best.

“So, it’s really important for the people of Utah to have a plan either where their safe place is in their house, an interior room a basement, or if you’re going hiking, camping, playing soccer. Planning ahead, looking at the forecast, make sure you understand the hazards and you have a plan to mitigate those hazards. It’s often too late if you hear thunder to have your plan, so you want to make sure you know it ahead of time,” Kruse tells ABC4.

Being able to react calmly and execute your plan is the best way to avoid any kind of injury or even death in these dangerous situations.

Another huge issue that gets overlooked when making a severe weather plan is extra supplies if there happens to be any damage to utilities or infrastructure.

Mathews says, “Well, I think one of the things that people are probably least prepared for, and this would apply to any type of emergency and disaster, utilities being knocked out. And we can expect that, and we’ve seen it in high wind situations. We’ve had hurricane force winds recently this past year, the year before in our populated counties along the Wasatch Front that knocked out power for many days and that’s a hard thing to do to go without power for a long time.” 

Having a few extra days of supplies and having an extra power source for sensitive medical equipment and medication can really help surviving during recovery times.

If you would like more information on how to preparing an emergency plan you can visit Be Ready Utah’s website here.

“Be Ready Utah” will be hosting a free webinar on severe weather preparedness this weekend. Click here to access the webinar

You can always stay ahead of the storm and any kind of inclement weather with Utah’s Most Accurate Forecast here. You can also access information from the National Weather Service’s forecasting office in Salt Lake City by clicking here.

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