Severe Weather Awareness Week: Recreational Safety

A trip to your favorite camping spot or fishing lake should be exciting. Though, the excitement can quickly change to fear and resentment when inclement weather threatens your favorite recreational spot. The National Weather Service (NWS) can help ensure you have a wonderful time that is full of great memories and fun.

To stay safe, you need to be aware of the expected weather and your surroundings. Storms can create a myriad of hazards, such as lightning, extremely gusty winds, flooding rains, large hail, and even tornadoes. By simply following these suggestions, you can help raise awareness and stay safe while recreating. What should you do before venturing out to your favorite recreation site? Always check the forecast and notify friends and family of your plans.

Scout out your evacuation plan before arriving on-site and then determine how long it would take to get to your safe shelter in the event inclement weather approaches. And it’s always a good idea to test out your weather radio and ensure you have a first aid kit readily available.

Once you arrive at your destination, have fun, but always provide for safety first. This means identifying potential hazards to you and those recreating with you. Are you camping under a tree? If so, what happens if thunderstorm winds approach? Will you be boating? Are there wind or beach hazards you should remain alert to? Does your recreation site have limited access in and out? These are all valid questions that would need to be addressed to ensure a safe trip.

The best way to remain situationally aware of changing weather conditions is simply to monitor the current and expected conditions and then act immediately once warnings are issued. If by chance you observe ongoing severe weather or damage, feel free to report it to the local National Weather Service office. Ground truth reports are especially appreciated from recreational areas.

Once you return home, consider being a positive force multiplier in the recreational community by including photos or sharing reviews to help others safely recreate. It’s always a good idea to plan ahead, so start thinking about your next camping trip or day at the beach.

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