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Posted at 11:00 AM ET, 04/10/2009

Are You Prepared for Severe Weather?

Wx and the City

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It's that time of year again. Spring is peak tornado season in the United States...and severe thunderstorms and hurricanes are not far behind. Since February, states throughout the country have been observing "Severe Weather Awareness Week" and similar events to better prepare citizens for severe weather and its impacts.

Although tornadoes are infrequent in the metro area, they happen. There have been eight tornadoes reported in the District since records began, but hundreds in Maryland and Virginia (view statistics for the region).

Keep reading for more on severe weather that has struck the area in the past, and to participate in our severe weather readiness poll questions...

Just last year, on April 20, an EF-0 tornado touched down in Charles County and an EF-1 tornado hit Prince George's County during a string of severe thunderstorms that also brought flooding to the region. On April 28, 2008, an EF-3 tornado was reported in Suffolk, Va. -- one of eight tornadoes confirmed in the state that day.

I've always found it easier to prepare ahead of time (tucking away a few extra gallons of water, canned soup and batteries, reading up on severe weather safety, having a NOAA weather radio handy) rather than be stuck in a natural disaster or emergency with few resources and no idea what to do. Though, I admit I've become a bit lax since living and working in the District, where I'm never far from a hospital, convenience store or Internet connection.

Earlier this week, I tested my Readiness Quotient (RQ) and scored only 5 out of 10! I couldn't believe it, as I consider myself a severe weather safety guru...I'll have to work on that.

Do you think Washington area residents are prepared for severe weather? Would the average person working downtown on a stormy day know what to do if a tornado warning were issued? Or would he or she even realize it was issued in the first place? Are the city and region effective in warning residents of severe weather threats and how to prepare ahead of time? How could they improve?

Here's an informal survey to find out how many of you are "storm ready."

How ready are you? Test your own RQ. Let us know how you fare -- and how you prepare -- with your comments below.

Severe Weather Safety | Make an Emergency Plan | Get an Emergency Supply Kit | | Community and State Information | American Red Cross of the National Capital Area

By  |  11:00 AM ET, 04/10/2009

Categories:  Wx and the City, Wx and the City

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