Safety tips for Alabama’s severe weather season: 4 things you need to know

single-meta-cal February 9, 2024

In North Alabama, we know the sights and sounds of severe weather all too well.

The state’s most significant severe weather season runs from March through May, with a second wave in November and December. April is especially dangerous, with nearly 600 tornadoes recorded that month from 1950-2023, according to the National Weather Service.

The Huntsville-Madison County Emergency Management Agency (EMA) has tips to help you prepare and take action during Alabama’s stormiest season.

Stay ready

The best way to stay safe during severe weather is getting prepared before the storms arrive. The most important item in your arsenal will be an emergency preparedness kit and a bit of critical thinking.

What should be in your kit?

  • Water and non-perishable foods (and food for your pet!)
  • Battery-powered radio and NOAA Weather Radio
  • Flashlights, cell phone chargers, whistles and a first aid kit
  • Sanitary items
  • Medication
  • Warm blankets or sleeping bags

In the event of a severe weather outbreak, be ready to hunker down for several days. Read the full checklist of preparedness kit items here.

A photo of emergency supplies on a counter, including first aid kit, food, water, and a radio.

Emergency kits should include water and non-perishable foods, a battery-powered radio and NOAA Weather Radio, flashlights, cell phone chargers, whistles, first aid kit and sanitary items.

Not business as usual

It’s not just homes – local businesses also need contingency plans for severe weather.

Your EMA created a sample plan to guide businesses through safety procedures in the workplace. The plan addresses everything from tornadic scenarios, flooding and wildfires to City-stalling winter weather events like we experienced in late January.

According to guidance from the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA), every workplace should have an emergency plan, NOAA Weather Radio, written policies and procedures and be prepared for power outages.

Learn more about keeping your workplace safe here.

Take shelter

The cities of Huntsville and Madison do not have public safe rooms available during severe weather crises, but places of worship and other buildings may choose to open during these events.

Residents countywide are encouraged to register their private storm shelters. Information provided to City or county officials helps first responders, and it all remains confidential. In the event of a devastating tornado, knowing the location of your private storm shelter can get rescue teams to you faster, and could help save a life.

Another reminder – residents who install qualified shelters are eligible for Alabama’s Storm Shelter Tax Credit. Learn more here.

After the storm

The hours and days following a storm can be just as critical as preparing for it. Depending on the severity, be ready to shelter in place for an extended time. This is where your emergency kit full of water, non-perishable foods and other supplies comes in handy!

The National Weather Service recommends staying informed through local media sources and experts, contacting with loved ones to ensure their safety and checking your property for signs of damage.

Birdwell is the Director of the Huntsville-Madison County Emergency Management Agency.

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