Living in Colorado is always a pleasure until we get hit by some of the harshest weather. Every year, Colorado sees flash floods, tornadoes, hail season, lighting, and powerful winds. Knowing how to stay safe during extreme weather events is vital for Colorado residents, and the good news is that some simple prep can make all of the difference. Wherever you live in Colorado, and whatever weather extremes you face on a regular or annual basis, here are some top tips for coping with the most extreme weather events that Colorado loves to throw at us. Take your time to prepare, and you’ll be safer than ever.
This is the most common extreme weather event in Colorado, and from May to September, Coloradans know to be prepared. Those flash floods are usually caused by distant thunderstorms that residents can’t hear, making them very dangerous indeed. The best ways to stay safe from flash floods are:
- Have a plan to get to higher ground if needed, with a kit prepared
- Stay updated on local weather and pay attention to flash flood warnings
- Invest in a battery-operated radio
If you’re driving when there’s a flash flood warning, avoid standing water, and never drive into flood water that’s more than four inches high and moving. When flash flood water moves quickly it can take your car with it. Always listen to any official evacuation guidelines.
There’s a good chance that you know all about hail if you live in Colorado. Every year, hail season wreaks havoc on homes and cars, and it can be incredibly dangerous. You should always be ready and prepared for hail season, which is usually between April 15th and September 15th. Cars are particularly vulnerable to hail damage, and if you get caught driving, the best advice is to seek cover as quickly as possible. Drive beneath freeways if there is no cover available. Ideally, you should have some form of protection for your car, with specialist hail covers or even just layers of blankets helping to minimize damage. If your car does get damaged by hail, it can dramatically affect its structural integrity, so you need to get Hail Damage Repair Colorado Springs experts to make repairs as quickly as possible. This is not a task that you should tackle yourself.
Tornado season in Colorado can be a real issue. 90% of all tornadoes in Colorado take place between May and August, but it’s important that you don’t let your guard down for the rest of the year. Tornadoes have been seen in February and as far into the year as of November. More common on the Eastern Plains, to the east of and alongside Interstate 25, and usually (but not always) between 1 pm and 8 pm, most Coloradans have memorized the phrase ‘get in, get down, and cover-up.’ This is still the best advice. Get indoors as quickly as possible, and get as low as possible. Basements are your best option if your building has one, but the more inside a building you can get, the better. You want to get as many barriers between you and the tornado as possible. Remember that most injuries in a tornado are the result of flying debris. Cover up with blankets, mattresses, or spare clothes, with protecting your head the priority.
Lightning strikes are very common in Colorado. More Americans were killed in 2016 by lightning than by tornadoes and hurricanes combined! The good news is that unless you’re exploring the mountains, it’s quite simple to avoid becoming a lighting strike statistic. The goal should always be to ensure that you are not the tallest object in the area. You need to find cover as quickly as possible, but while remembering to avoid standing close to features that are taller than you. That’s why you should always avoid trees and tall structures during a lightning storm. If you’re indoors, remember to unplug all of your devices. It’s a good idea to learn how to spot the different types of clouds so that you can have an earlier warning if lightning is on the way. The more in advance that you can start preparing or finding cover, the better. One of the best places to wait out a lightning storm is inside your car, as long as your car doesn’t have a convertible, cloth roof. If you have a car that doesn’t have that, then it’s the perfect Faraday cage. Keep your windows wound up, and you’ll be able to wait out the storm safely.
Weather issues in Colorado mean always keeping one eye on the local weather stations and being aware of the time of year. When it comes to staying safe from the extreme weather in the Centennial State, the more prepared you are for the worst, the more easily you enjoy the best of what there is in one of the best states in the US.