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Posted at 11:45 AM ET, 04/24/2009

Making Severe Weather Less Scary for Kids

By Ann Posegate

Wx and the City

* How Hot This Weekend? Full Forecast | Niagara Falls in Spring *

Thunder, lightning, tornadoes and other kinds of severe weather can put adults on edge... and can be downright scary for kids. A better understanding of the science behind severe weather and how to prepare for it, though, can help kids feel safe and calm their fears.

Ready Classroom, a new educational Web site from the Federal Emergency Management Agency, the Ad Council and Discovery Education, is geared toward teachers, students and families. It explains the science of hurricanes, floods, earthquakes and other natural hazards through lesson plans, videos, games, puzzles, recommendations and even a page on pet preparedness. Content is broken down by grade level for grades K-2, 3-5 and 6-8.

Keep reading for more about the Ready Classroom Web site...

Ready Classroom also helps schools, families and children prepare for severe weather by giving them three simple steps: 1) Get an emergency supply kit; 2) Make a family emergency plan; and 3) Be informed about the types of emergencies that can happen in your area and how to respond.

The home page features an interactive map of the United States that displays types of severe weather in each state. According to the map, our region's severe weather conditions include floods, hurricanes, thunderstorms, tornadoes, winter storms and extreme cold and heat...nearly everything in Mother Nature's bag of tricks!

This week, Maryland held its 24th Annual Severe Storms Awareness Conference and West Virginia observed its Severe Weather Awareness Week.

'Tis the season to be aware and prepare.

By Ann Posegate  | April 24, 2009; 11:45 AM ET
Categories:  Education, Posegate, Wx and the City  
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When we were kids, it was the thunder which scared us the most, especially if it was nearby and hit with a really LOUD crash!

Our parents told us that if you heard the thunder, you hadn't been hit by the lightning.

Posted by: Bombo47jea | April 24, 2009 1:12 PM | Report abuse

VERY cool. As a kid I remember being somewhere between frightened and fascinated by storms. I'm acquainted now with some children who get pretty anxious about storms even though their parents don't. A website like this might help them lessen anxiety by feeling prepared, more in control.

Posted by: --sg | April 24, 2009 7:22 PM | Report abuse

I grew up as a child in the 50's when there was seemingly constant fear of a nuclear war - where "duck and cover" (under school desk) was purported - ridiculously so - as the means to protect oneself from a nuclear blast.

I recall one night being violently awoken by what to this very day was the loudest clap of thunder I've ever heard. Except at the time I was convinced a nuclear bomb had just exploded and was as scared as I've ever been. It took days for my parents to convince me that it was, indeed, only thunder, and all was peace and harmony with the world (at least at that time). Educational material comparable to Ready Classroom back then would have been great from having kids like me scared out of their ....

Posted by: SteveT-CapitalWeatherGang | April 25, 2009 12:18 PM | Report abuse

Parents can learn a lot from their children...Educating teachers, schools and the children themselves seems like a good way to get the preparedness message to parents and help families better prepare for severe weather at home.

Posted by: Ann-CapitalWeatherGang | April 26, 2009 6:51 PM | Report abuse

I was in awe of weather as a kid, but I also wish I had known what to do in it - namely summer thunderstorms in Arizona. My father and I were stuck outdoors in a monsoon storm that came out of nowhere while hiking, and we ended up at the top of a large boulder instead of in the trees below. It seemed commonsensical at the time, since we knew we didn't want to be standing next to a tree during lightning. But looking back, we were on the tallest thing around...An honest mistake that could have ended fatally. We sure lucked out! That experience and others have given me even more incentive for learning about severe weather preparedness!

Posted by: Ann-CapitalWeatherGang | April 26, 2009 7:01 PM | Report abuse

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