Always have a plan

Growing up in the Midwest, I have vivid memories of the damage tornadoes, high winds, flooding and blizzards could cause. […]

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Growing up in the Midwest, I have vivid memories of the damage tornadoes, high winds, flooding and blizzards could cause. We lived in the country. We’d lose power for days at a time in the winter. Sometimes we would lose our phone service.

Our roads became muddy, flooded messes in the spring. Once in a while we’d use a hayrack, pulled by a large tractor, to get to and from vehicles parked on blacktopped roads. It was a precarious ride.

Spring, summer and even fall brought high winds, heavy rains, thunder and lightning, and tornadoes. I remember looking out of our dining room window during one storm and watching a shed blow over. One of our ponies was in the shed. He ran off in terror after his shelter was gone.

When people in my home area talk about tornadoes they often speak of 1966 and a tornado in Belmond, Iowa that struck moments after a high school Homecoming parade. Our school was several miles to the north. Our rural school buses were held until it was known that we would be safe. There were many downed branches and much damage, although it was nothing compared to a deadly tornado.

That’s why it’s so important for all of us to be prepared for wicked weather. As a child, my main concern with weather was that we had an ample stock of jigsaw puzzles and popcorn when blizzards kept us inside.

Planning needs to be much more detailed now that I live with disabilities.

I still have useful disaster preparedness information from the Minnesota Council on Disability booth at the state fair. I keep extra medication, flashlight and batteries, a weather radio, bottled water and dry foods I can use if needed. I keep an emergency kit in my vehicle. I have a go bag with clothes and handy pet carriers if we need to leave quickly.

I also maintain a friend system of people I check on. And they check on me.

This has been a bad spring and summer for weather in the Upper Midwest. A younger friend is part of a faith-based group doing tornado recovery in Iowa. I look at his social media posts and am astounded at the work they have to do. Severe weather is nothing to mess with.

If you have not done so already, please have a plan. A great source of information for people with disabilities is at https://www.ready.gov/disability

  • "Stay safe, Minnesota. Take steps to protect yourself, & others from the COVID-19 virus."
  • "Stay safe, Minnesota. Take steps to protect yourself & others from the COVID-19 virus."


Mental Wellness