At the end of each week, we post a "What We’re Watching" blog as we look ahead to the weekend and recap events from the week. We encourage you to share it with your friends and family, and have a safe weekend.
Severe weather outlook
U.S. Hazards Outlook, courtesy of the National Weather Service. Image posted July 13, 2012.
The National Weather Service Climate Prediction Center is calling for above average temperatures next week for much of the Upper Midwest, while portions of the Ohio and Tennessee Valley may experience heavy rains. And, as you can see in the predominant brown portions of the map above, drought conditions will continue across much of the U.S.
The last few weeks have been relatively quiet for tropical storm and hurricane development in the Atlantic, but it’s important to remember that we are only one and a half months into hurricane season. The traditional peak of the season occurs in late August to early September. History shows that storms can develop quickly so both those in coastal and inland areas should prepare their families, homes and businesses now, before there’s a threatening storm. Ready.gov/hurricanes is a great starting place for information about getting prepared for the effects of a tropical storm or hurricane, so check it out today.
Follow your local forecast online at weather.gov or on your phone at mobile.weather.gov. Whatever the risks in your area of the country, visit Ready.gov to learn about getting prepared and lessening the impacts of a disaster.
Financially preparing before disaster strikes
The FEMA blog had several updates about our role supporting the firefighting efforts in Colorado as well as those affected by the fires. I ran across a story in the Wall Street Journal earlier this week from a reporter who experienced the wildfires firsthand. Here’s a quick section from the story:
The take-away from this experience is that you can't protect yourself from every disaster, but you can certainly do things to tilt the odds heavily in your favor. So what I want to talk about here is preparations that you should undertake right now to protect your financial interests in case you are ever exposed to a disaster: tornado, hurricane, fire, flood, earthquake, whatever. Did I make all these preparations myself? Not even close, which was dumb. But I've learned my lesson and now want to pass it along to you. Here goes.
Put Together a Financial Go Kit
Go to your friendly office supply store and buy one of those roomy plastic briefcases. Then put your most important financial documents (or copies of them) inside, including: homeowner and auto insurance coverage summaries; health insurance information; banking, mortgage, and credit card statements; investment and retirement account documents; tax returns for at least the last three years; your will; and a key to your safe deposit box. Add to this list as you see fit.
The rest of the article provides some useful financial preparedness tips such as putting together a “Financial Go Kit”, taking lots of pictures of your belongings, and making a “Grab-and-Go List”.
Remembering your pets
For millions of Americans, their pet is a part of their family. So it’s important to include your animals as part of your family’s emergency planning as well. This means making sure you know how you would evacuate with your pet, where a pet-friendly hotel or shelter might be located after a disaster, and including items in your family’s emergency kit to keep your pet happy and healthy.
When you get a few free minutes this week, visit Ready.gov/animals to learn more about preparing your pet for emergencies. And in case you need additional inspiration, here is Faith, who is waiting patiently to discuss her owner's emergency kit and the items she would like included like a current photo of her, vet information, food and a toy.