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Are you ready for severe weather?

Jeff Caldwell 04/13/2012 @ 11:30am Multimedia Editor for Agriculture.com and Successful Farming magazine.

When forecasters call for ominous conditions, it can raise concerns and even fears for the worst in rural America. Are you prepared? Farmers and Agriculture.com Farm Business Talk members say they're double-checking their severe weather plans to protect their family members and farms from the potential worst Mother Nature can dish up this time of year.

"The spring weather season is starting,and we may be having more extreme weather lately, so it's a good idea to have a severe weather plan in effect for the farm," says Farm Business Talk advisor Jim Meade / Iowa City. "It has to address not only family but also workers, visitors, livestock and property." He suggests keeping the following on hand in a storm shelter:

  • Weather radio with extra batteries
  • Gas lanterns
  • Extra water, food
  • Generators (especially if livestock is involved)
  • First aid equipment
  • Computer or smartphone for weather updates and communication

Another tool that's good to keep around on the farm in case of severe weather, adds Farm Business Talk veteran advisor Kay/NC, is a power inverter. If you need to power a device like a phone or radio and have trucks, tractors or other machinery accessible on your farm, you can draw power for a small device this way, she says.

"I am stashing a couple of inverters for now. They could be run off of any vehicle or farm tractor," she says. "These are spread out over about 1.5 miles here. Inexpensive insurance for keeping freezers cold, running a water pump, etc."

Fuel is always a concern in times of severe weather conditions, whether it's a spill or the need to salvage some if you need to move equipment or vehicles after a storm has passed. Farm Business Talk advisor Nebrfarmr says he's learned from past experience that keeping even a small fuel supply in a safe place can be very important.

"The swirling winds can unscrew a gas cap (on one place, it unscrewed the valve off a propane tank!) and the sudden vacuum can literally suck the gas out of the tank," Nebrfarmr says. "Keepng a 5-gallon can of gas in a 'well' below ground level is supposed to protect it from the winds, and it is suggested to put this 'well' in some sort of open front shed, so fumes cannot build up, but so it doesn't get rained on."

Most importantly, it's important to keep your head before, during and after severe storms roll through. Ample emergency supplies and severe weather planning are both of utmost importance, but so too is the ability to carry out those plans and utilize those resources when they're most needed, adds Farm Business Talk frequent contributor farmandfire.

"A lot of mass confusion happens directly after a major incident. It will usually take 24 hours to get a incident command team in place. It can overwhelm the local authorities until they get there," he says. "Common sense it the biggest life saver there is. Use your head and be prepared, you'll come out alive."

   

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