3 easy preparation tips for severe weather in Alabama

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A snow-covered Birmingham in 2014. (Alabama Power)

No matter where you live in Alabama, there is always a risk of severe weather. Tornadoes, flash floods, tropical storms and even snowstorms can affect all of us. The question is when. 

The good thing to remember is there are simple things you can do to prepare for severe weather. Keep reading to learn more.

Severe weather risks in Alabama

Alabama Power
(Alabama Power)

Although the Category 4 Hurricane Ian missed the state earlier this month, Alabama has not always been so lucky.

  • The 1994 Ice Storm severely affected the state and left many residents without power for a month.
  • In 2005, Hurricane Katrina devastated coastal Alabama, and 22 counties were declared disaster areas.
  • The 2011 Tornado Outbreak was one of the largest tornado outbreaks ever recorded and caused 238 deaths in Alabama alone.

The most common types of severe weather seen in Alabama are Flash Floods, Severe Thunderstorms, Lightning and Tornadoes.

Prepare before Severe Weather strikes

Alabama Power
(Alabama Power)

As the saying goes, an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure. Since severe weather is unforgiving, it pays to be prepared for a number of circumstances.

A key step in preparing for severe weather is awareness.

  1. Stay in the know. When severe weather strikes, it’s important to know what is happening. Stay in the loop—check live updates from the National Weather Service, available via TV, weather app and radio.
  2. Power up. If you know severe weather is in the forecast, make sure to charge your smart devices—especially your smartphone—before the storm hits. If power is knocked out, you can use your smart device to see when power will be restored through Alabama Power’s Outage Alerts system.
  3. Prep your car. As important as it is to prepare your home for severe weather, it’s just as important to ensure your car is too. Take it in for regular service inspections and always keep a full tank of gas. 

Pro Tip: Purchase a battery-operated charger and keep it fully charged at all times.

Click here for more information on ways to prepare before severe weather.

Staying safe during severe weather

car on body of water
(chriswebdog / Instant Images)

These tips can help keep your family and pets safe during severe weather in Alabama:

  • Flash Flooding
    • Know your area’s flood risks.
    • Never attempt to walk or drive through flowing water, even if it looks shallow.
    • Seek higher ground, whether on foot or in a vehicle.
  • Thunderstorms
    • Seek safe shelter inside a sturdy building, away from windows, doors and electrical appliances.
    • Avoid contact with conductors of electricity, appliances, metal objects and water.
    • Don’t shower or bathe during a storm.
    • Unplug unnecessary appliances which conduct electricity.
  • Tornadoes
    • Seek the safest place in your home—usually the lowest level. If not, find a small room away from windows near the center of your home to put as many walls between you and the tornado.
  • Extreme Winter Weather
    • Avoid being on the road.
    • Stay indoors and wear multiple layers of clothes to keep warm.
    • Do NOT use a stove, outdoor grill, gas/propane heater, or generator indoors. 
    • Stay away from downed lines and do NOT pull tree limbs off downed power lines.

After the storm

Alabama Power
(Alabama Power)

When severe whether has passed, there may still be dangers associated with the storm. Use caution to ensure safety until restoration from the storm is complete.

  • If your power goes out, turn off appliances to avoid any potential safety hazards when power is restored.
  • Always assume power lines are active—stay away from any downed power lines.

Pro Tip: Keep your freezer and refrigerator closed if power is lost. According to the CDC, if the doors stay closed, food will stay safe for up to 4 hours in a refrigerator, 48 hours in a full freezer and 24 hours in a half-full freezer.

Bonus: Alabama Power’s Outage Map

Alabama Power
(Alabama Power)

Although severe weather can cause widespread damage and power outages, crews from Alabama Power will work to restore power as soon as it is safe. You can report an outage, check outage status and get a summary of Alabama Power’s power restoration efforts via the Alabama Power Outage Map!

Click here to view Alabama Power’s Outage Map and text ENROLL to APCOUT (272688) to sign up for Alabama Power’s Outage Alerts for updates on progress.

Visit the Storm Center page on Alabama Power’s website for even more severe weather preparation tips!

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Nathan Watson
Nathan Watson

Senior Content Producer at Bham Now

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