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Weather Watch, Tornadoes and Pets

by | May 12, 2014 | Cat Behavior & Care, Dog Training & Care | 3 comments

Cold Weather Safety Tips
Cold Weather Safety Tips

The double-headed killer tornado that hit Midway Trailer Park and killed 36 people. Image courtesy of NOAA

It’s that time of year here in N. Texas for storms, rain, hail and (eeek!) tornadoes. Today we’re under a weather alert with forecast of up to 2 inches of rain and possible hail and wind. That could turn into a might big wind that could cause Dorothy to shake in her ruby slippers.

When I grew up in North Indiana, we also had tornadoes and those events were exciting times for us kids. It meant camping out in the basement…with our parents! How fun is that?

My folks must have done something to keep us kids calm, because I can only remember the excitement and not the fear. The awe and shivers came afterwards one spring weekend, though. That part of the country still talks about the Palm Sunday tornadoes of 1965. It was the deadliest tornado outbreak in Indiana history, with 47 documented twisters, $5.5 billion in damages and more than 250 killed. That picture of the double-headed tornado still gives me goosebumps. Another 800-foot-wide tornado killed 25. The trees that survived still grow in a twisted witchy-posture.

It only takes one tornado to land on your life for you to be 100 percent affected. It doesn’t have to be a ravaging pack of twisters. Are you prepared?

People were killed in part because warnings didn’t get to them on time. Those who did get the warnings couldn’t tell the difference between a forecast and an alert. As a result of these killer storms, the weather service launched an education program as well as the designation of “Weather Watch” and “Weather Alert” so the public could be better prepared and take cover. For more on this important storm, read this article.


Seren is not a fan of carriers so I need to plan ahead. Image Copr. Amy Shojai, CABC

So today as a grown up, the adventure and excitement have given way to concern. I know what wind can do. Today we get advance warning, and know to prepare during a “Watch” and take cover from imminent danger during a “Warning.” But because of the way the ground shifts, few houses have basements to take shelter. Instead, the pantry under the stairs (no windows, center of the house) is our go-to tornado spot.

Karma would go into the pantry without prompting–that’s where he tries to eat through the dog food bag to get to the kibble. But with enough warning, Magical-Dawg, the cats in separate carriers and I all fit inside. Today I’m clearing out space just to be prepared.

And hopefully the space won’t be needed for shelter. Here are more tips on preparing for a natural disaster and keeping pets safe.

How do you prepare for Mother Nature’s tantrums? Have you ever experienced a natural disaster–what did you do right/wrong and how will you keep your kids (furry and otherwise) safe? Do tell!

I love hearing from you, so please share comments and questions. Do you have an ASK AMY question you’d like answered–post in the comments. Do you have a new kitten and need answers? Stay up to date on all the latest just subscribe the blog, “like” me on Facebook, check out weekly PUPPY CARE must knows, and sign up for Pet Peeves newsletter. Stay up to date with the latest book give aways and appearances related to my  THRILLERS WITH BITE!


  1. Karyl

    Usually we listen for the warnings, watch the sky, and run either next door or down the road to my parents’ place (both houses have basements – ours does not). Thankfully Anubis had gotten more OK with being stuffed in a carrier now that he knows sometimes he just goes next door.

    • Karyl

      and once again I forget to click the little box to warn me of replies…

      • Amy Shojai

        That’s great you have a safe place that close. I have friends in Oklahoma City that have built storm cellars after the last few really bad storms.


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