How Do I Prepare For a Storm In Nevada
Storms in Nevada can be a daunting thing; we get such extreme weather here that the unique challenges our geography and climate present us with can complicate our preparation efforts when storms hit.
According to Ready.gov, the best first steps you can take no matter where you are, are to set up emergency alerts on your phone and stay informed! Knowing the difference between "watches" and "warnings" is also imperative:
- Severe Thunderstorm Watch - Tells you when and where severe thunderstorms are likely to occur. Watch the sky and stay tuned to NOAA Weather Radio, commercial radio or television for information.
- Severe Thunderstorm Warning - Issued when severe weather has been reported by spotters or indicated by radar. Warnings indicate imminent danger to life and property to those in the path of the storm.
Firstly: you can expect high winds to down power lines here in the Reno/Sparks area, and in more residential parts of the Tahoe/Truckee area. This means services like internet, phone and television may be unavailable until the line is fixed. Do NOT touch a downed pole or line, or attempt to drive over them, or interact with them in anyway. Instead, alert authorities to the downed line, and never drive through flooded areas.
Second: We mentioned flooded areas; parts of Nevada (like Reno and Sparks) are in what is referred to locally as "the valley". This means that much of the rain and melt-water we get "up in the mountains" (think Mt. Rose!) trickles down, fills our flood drains, raises the Truckee river's water level, and potentially floods our streets. That's right; weather in the mountains very quickly becomes our problem down here. So, stay away from flood waters, and "turn around, don't drown!". Flash floods are common here, but casualties shouldn't be!
Third: High winds don't just affect communications around here, they also can cause power outages. We experience these with some regularity, but for a visitor or someone thinking of moving to the area, a power outage can be a jarring experience. Make sure you have a separate power bank to charge your devices from handy, restock your emergency supply kit, and ensure your car's gas-tank is full (gas stations use electricity to dispense fuel; if you don't have electricity, they likely don't either, so if you don't have gas, you can't get it from them!).
During the power outage be sure to stay calm, don't use candles as emergency lighting (fire hazard!), and keep informed with NOAA's safety tips and alerts.
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