As leaves start to fall, and the temperature drops, our weather begins its unpredictable shift from hot to cold. This shift can bring a slew of extreme weather related hazards. Depending on the current yearly weather pattern, fall can suffer dry conditions or heavy rains. Dry weather encourages wildfires and can contribute to flooding once intense rains strike. Early snowfalls and ice storms have also been known to occur during the autumn months, catching many people off guard.

But as most Oklahomans know, the most severe threats during fall are tornadoes. Hail, lightning and pouring rain are seasonal occurrences in the southern plains, and tornadoes are a dangerous result of this severe weather. Don’t wait until spring to create your severe weather safety plan. Keep your tornado shelter cleaned and ready throughout the year in case of unexpected tornado outbreaks. Practice your safety plan with your family and keep your emergency weather kits at the ready.

In case of early snow or ice storms, keep a bag of salt in your garage and snow shovel close at hand.  Batteries, flashlights and weather radios are all excellent items to have incase lightning strikes cause power outages or for other weather related emergencies. Educate your family on the do’s and don’ts of severe flooding, especially the importance of not driving through deep water. In case of dry conditions, keep a fire extinguisher and a water hose handy.

While most people don’t need to use all their emergency items, it is always a safe bet to be well-prepared.  Fall weather can bring unexpected challenges and the best way to stay safe is to be organized, educated and ready for whatever mother nature throws your way.