Severe Weather Safety Tips

General Preparedness for Severe Weather

Everyone should prepare for any type of potential emergency that could occur in their area. Advanced planning can reduce the risks and negative impacts of an severe weather emergency. There are four steps to the disaster planning process: 

1. GATHER INFORMATION – Research the various types of emergencies that could happen in your area, and determine how you can best prepare for them. 

2. CREATE A PLAN – Ensure that you and your family know how to appropriately respond to a weather emergency situation. Identify safe refuge areas for all potential emergencies. Identify when and where you would evacuate as well as when and how to shelter in place. Need help creating a plan? Click here for more information. 

3. IMPLEMENT YOUR PLAN – Post emergency phone numbers for friends, family and emergency services. Install safety features such as weather alert radios, smoke alarms, fire extinguishers, and first aid kits. Assemble a disaster supplies kit with food, water, flashlights, spare batteries, and items you might need during an emergency. Click here for more information. 

4. PRACTICE AND MAINTAIN YOUR PLAN – Ensure that everyone in your home knows the plan and participates in practicing the plan. Practice the plan at twice a year and make modifications as necessary. Remember to change batteries in your smoke alarms, weather alert radio, flashlights and other battery-operated emergency supplies at least once each year. 

Some basic severe weather safety tips are listed below form some of the more common severe weather emergencies in Northern Colorado. For more information, visit the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s National Weather Service website .

Severe Weather Preparedness: An App for that Too!

Prepare for severe weather hazards with free mobile apps on your smartphone. The FEMA App contains disaster safety tips, interactive lists for storing your emergency kit and emergency meeting location information, and a map with open shelters and open FEMA Disaster Recovery Centers. The app is free to download through your smartphone provider’s app store.

The Red Cross also offers a suite of hazard-based preparedness apps. Most recently, the Red Cross launched a mobile app for tornadoes. Download these apps today and be ready when severe weather strikes.


Click on the tabs below to learn more:

Winter Weather / Blizzards

  • Prepare a winter weather emergency supplies kit.
  • Check weather forecast and road conditions before traveling.
  • Avoid cold, wet, and windy conditions if possible.
  • Dress in layers and keep dry.
  • Seek shelter from severe wind and cold conditions


  • Take shelter immediately.
  • Avoid outdoor areas if possible.
  • Stay away from glass windows and doors. 
  • The best shelter is the lower level of a sturdy, reinforced building.
  • If a basement shelter area is not available, consider a small, first floor room without windows, such as a bathroom or closet.

Did you know that you could have a tornado safe room built into a new or existing home?  Click here to watch a video to learn about the different construction types that can be used to build tornado shelter rooms.

Lightning / Thunder Storms 

  • Go indoors if possible.
  • If outside, immediately seek shelter in a low area (unless there is risk of flooding).
  • Stay away from tall trees and tall structure.
  • Squat low on the balls of your feet, cover your ears with your hands.
  • If in a hardtop car, stay there with the windows up and avoid touching any metal.

Flash Floods 

  • Avoid walking or driving through flood waters.
  • Don’t take chances – flood waters can rise very quickly. 
  • Climb to higher ground.
  • Stay away from high water, storm drains, ditches, etc.
  • Be aware of potential lightning activity.