Eight ways to prepare for tornado season

Allison Smith

May is a peak month in the tornado season. Tornadoes mean thunderstorms, and with thunderstorms come power outages. So what’s a Facebook-addicted college student to do when there’s no electricity?

1. Have a barbecue. If you have meat that you know will spoil in the fridge, throw a neighborhood party and have some nice juicy steaks.

2. Read a book. Reading is essential to learning new vocabulary. So why not pick up a few new words and read a good book? You can read almost anywhere, too. So pick a nice, peaceful spot and enjoy.

3. Write a letter to your grandparents. Everyone loves getting snail mail. Chances are your grandmother or grandfather hasn’t heard from you in a while, so surprise them with a letter.

4. Play a board game. Scrabble, Life or Clue are good games to start with.

Essentials to have on hand for a power outage:

• solar powered or hand-cranked radio

• battery-powered external speakers for an MP3 player

• a good book

• blankets and pillows

• flashlights with extra batteries and candles with matches or a lighter

• canned food

• cell phone

Tips on how to play it safe when the lights go out:

1. Keep the refrigerator closed. If the power is out for an extended amount of time, throw away any food that is warmer than 40 degrees.

2. Check with local authorities to be sure the water is safe to drink.

3. Wear layers of clothing in case it gets cold at night.

4. Stay away from downed power lines.

— Allison Smith