Storm stress and anxiety is completely normal, we see a potentially dangerous event and know that there is nothing that you can do to stop it, and it can sometimes make you feel powerless. On the bright side, there are so many ways to empower yourself through knowledge and preparation that can remind you that you do have a say in how the storm affects you. Here are some things that you can do to empower yourself and take control over your weather fears:

  • Prepare in advance: Think about where you can take shelter, how you will get weather information, and have a plan in place with your family and friends. Pack a go-bag that will make transportation to either your designated home shelter or a public shelter easy and quick. Knowing that you are prepared for what the weather may bring can make the storms seem less intimidating. 
  • Learn about the storms: If you understand how they develop, what to look for, and what the forecasts mean, you can also use your own knowledge to ease your concerns. Although it is critical to get updates from credible sources, being able to use your own knowledge as well and not be “in the dark” can give you a feeling of control and calm in the situation. 
    • The National Weather Service offers a free storm spotter class online that can help you learn both storm identifiers as well as look-alikes that appear far more scary than they really are. Check it out here!
  • Familiarize yourself with local storm warning systems in your community and how they work. McDonough county is partnered with the alerting service Everbridge which provides a free alerting subscription service that is customizable to your needs. You can receive these alerts for up to five addresses, choose up to 10 contact methods including cell phone, home phone, email, text messaging, and more, as well as two-way conversations with emergency managers in your area.  
    • If you are interested in this service, you can go to this link and sign up! It is 100% free of charge. 
  • Learn the local geography, this will make it easier to track the storms as they move through the area. If you are able to understand where the storms are and where they are going, the threat of severe weather can be far less stressful. 
  • Do not rely on outdoor warning systems for your alerts. Tornado sirens are designed to be heard by people who are outside, and if you rely on hearing the sirens you are putting yourself through unnecessary tension and stress. Make sure that you have at least three ways to receive a warning. For some ways to receive weather alerts, see our post for day 1 of Severe Weather Preparedness Week: receiving weather information. 
  • No questions are bad questions, if you feel unsure about specific aspects of storms and it is causing you distress, reach out to your local emergency managers and ask questions! McDonough County Emergency Services and Disaster Agency is available to answer your questions at this link
  • Reach out for help: If none of these options helped to ease your storm anxiety, you can always call the Disaster Distress Hotline for confidential counseling and support 24/7 at  1-(800)-985-5990. For more information, visit this link.

“We cannot stop natural disasters, but we can arm ourselves with knowledge”