The approach of summer in the US means that it's time to be ready for >hurricanes and >wildfires. The incidence of weather and climate disasters is> increasing in the US, a trend due partly to >climate change but also to human decisions.
Since the 1950s, population growth has >increased significantly in Sun Belt states. Millions of people have moved to coastlines, from Texas to the Carolinas, putting more lives and property in harm's way during hurricanes. Florida, the hurricane capital of the United States, now is the> third-most-populous state in the nation.
Tornado safety is critical: So far in 2021, twisters have >killed a dozen people, in Alabama, Louisiana, Texas and North Carolina. Tornado readiness includes >knowing the safest room in your home " usually a windowless interior room on the lowest floor " and >tuning in to NOAA Weather Radio, which will provide severe weather information directly from your local National Weather Service office.
During any severe weather event, such as the> February 2021 deep freeze in Texas, the power may go out, so everyone should have flashlights and batteries on hand. Portable generators can be useful during extended outages but >always operate them outdoors to avoid the risk of >carbon monoxide poisoning.
Apathy and complacency can also be dangerous when it comes to weather-driven disasters. In my view, weather readiness has to become a way of life " something that all Americans see as their responsibility. The best forecasts in the world may be useless if the public doesn't respond or hasn't taken the needed actions to protect themselves when extreme weather threatens.
Most importantly, remember to help your neighbours when needed, especially if they are elderly and can't help themselves. In addition, consider supporting local nonprofits or churches that help residents in your community who have financial or transportation needs to be ready and safe. We are all in this together.
Erik Salna, Associate Director of Education and Outreach, Extreme Events Institute, Florida International University