Gone are the days when a person could count on tornado “season” being only a springtime phenomenon. Unfortunately, tornadoes can occur at any time when the conditions are right, including an EF4 tornado in Rowlett, TX in December of 2015. Although it may be tempting to ignore the occasional tornado warning in your area, that just isn’t an option if you have children in your care.
Storms, regardless of the severity, can be scary for young children. One of the best ways to help them overcome their fears is to educate them about thunderstorms, flooding, tornadoes and the differences between weather warnings and watches. Two series that come highly recommended for introducing children to the world of weather and natural phenomena are Bel the Weather Girl, available from the library as eBooks on Hoopla, and the bilingual set of Earth in Action weather books. Click on the links to check the library’s catalog for availability.
One of the first steps you can make to talk about bad weather is by letting your children be part of preparing your family’s storm shelter. Have them pick out some favorite items to place inside. Unless you have a basement, which is a rarity in Texas, the next safest place is in a small interior room, with no windows, on the lowest level of a sturdy building. Place thick blankets and sturdy pillows inside to shield your family from debris. A weather radio, flashlight, shoes, bottled water, snacks, a couple of toys and books, and a battery operated phone charger are also helpful in the event of a power outage or prolonged stay. Do not take shelter in a mobile home. Make sure to run a few practice drills with your family and also have a plan for your pets.
Expert advice to calm children during tornadic events:
Should your family be visiting the Irving Public Library or attending an event when severe weather strikes, rest assured. We have procedures in place at each location should a Tornado Warning be issued. Please immediately follow staff instructions to evacuate to the designated shelter area. For your safety and the safety of others, stay in place until the threat passes.
Although tornadoes are uncontrollable, fatalities are actually very few. Being prepared and aware are your best defenses.