A Severe Weather Handbook: Are You Ready for the Worst?

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Despite our best efforts, no one has yet found a place on the earth where it is possible to escape all forms of severe weather. Each year, outbreaks of severe weather cause billions of dollars of damage and end up killing countless individuals. Fortunately, good preparation can help lower the financial and human costs of tornadoes, hurricanes, blizzards, and other forms of severe weather. The Internet contains a ton of information on severe weather and preparing for such disasters. Here are some of the best online resources about severe weather:

General Weather and Severe Weather Information

Understanding how weather works and the potential damaging effects that most instances of severe weather have in common can go a long way to helping people prepare for the worst Mother Nature has to offer. Readers can learn all about weather, the science of meteorology, and much more when they visit the following pages:

Blizzards and Severe Winter Weather

Severe snowstorms with strong, gusty winds are otherwise known as blizzards, and they are common in the colder parts of the world. The low temperatures associated with blizzards can induce hypothermia in those who are overexposed to the cold and the winds, and the quick accumulation of snow can cause roofs to collapse and other damages. Residents of colder climates should definitely be prepared for blizzards.

Hurricanes and Other Natural Disasters

Each year, several tropical weather systems originate in the tropical regions or form off the west coast of Africa as warm air moves over the ocean. Many of these tropical weather systems will develop first into tropical storms and then into hurricanes, which are huge, rotating weather systems with maximum sustained winds of at least 74 miles per hour. Hurricanes Andrew and Katrina still rank as some of the most destructive natural disasters ever to strike the United States, and those who live on the East Coast of the United States must be ready for these dangerous storms.

Lightning and Thunderstorms

Lightning and thunderstorms are common in many parts of the world, and many people are killed instantly every year when they are struck by lightning. Scientists do not yet agree on how exactly lightning forms, but its danger has never been in doubt. Fortunately, there are many tools to help people predict lightning and figure out how close they are to the strike zone.


Tornadoes have long captured the popular imagination, figuring as essential parts of the storyline in movies such as The Wizard of Oz and Twister. These whirling columns of air can strike nearly anywhere, but they are especially common in the plains of the United States, where dozens of storm chasers purse tornadoes each year. The most damage done in a tornado is often the result of kicked-up debris, which is why it's so important to get a heavy umbrella base for a market umbrella, and to make sure everything in one's lawn is entirely tied and weighted down. In high winds, splinters of wood or bits of trash can be deadly.