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Fox News Weather Center

Are You Prepared for Severe Weather to Strike?

With severe weather season upon us, this week is dedicated to the preparations that take place prior to the peak of season, known as National Severe Weather Preparedness Week.

Typically, severe weather ramps up during transitional seasons with severe weather firing up first in the South in February.

March and April are commonly the most active months of the season for the Deep South, while in the northern areas the season's height normally occurs in May and June.

"Severe weather can occur at any time during the year because of the discrepancy between warm, moist air and cold, dry air," AccuWeather Senior Meteorologist Dan Kottlowski said. "The frequency of severe weather is more of a problem headed into the spring months."

Just last year, financial losses from severe weather in 2013 exceeded $1 billion in the United States, according to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, NOAA.

While the United States averages approximately 1,253 tornadoes per year, according to NOAA, last year ranked below average with 903 tornadoes total.

Even though numbers were down in 2013, a few disastrous twisters rampaged across Oklahoma, wreaking havoc and destroying entire communities.

Spotlighted last year were two separate tornadoes, the first an EF-5 twister that plundered through Moore, Okla., on May 20, 2013, killing seven children and the second, the widest tornado on record, coming two weeks later on May 31, 2013, barreling through El Reno, Okla.

Still recovering from the aftermath of the deadly twister, Moore continues to rebuild. To help with recovery efforts, the city was awarded $26.3 million in disaster recovery aid by the U.S. Housing and Urban Development. On Feb. 18, 2014, the city plans to release their plan of action publicly.

With this year's severe weather season expected to mimic last year's due to the amount of cold and stable air in the atmosphere, the Gulf Coast may still be at risk for several severe weather incidents, according to AccuWeather.com Lead Long-Range Forecaster Paul Pastelok.

Ahead of the impending season, National Severe Weather Preparedness Week aims to get people ready for the potentially life-threatening dangers of the season, including tornadoes.

To protect yourself and your loved ones from severe weather, NOAA encourages people to know their own risk, take action and be an example in the community.

Aside from taking precautions into your own hands, many companies are joining the fight to ready the nation for the forthcoming season, including AccuWeather.

As a long-time Weather-Ready Nation Ambassadorâ„¢, the company is working hard with NOAA to improve the nation's readiness, responsiveness and overall resilience against extreme weather events.

This program is a recognition that it takes the entire American Weather Enterprise to help people understand their risk for severe and disruptive weather in their community, according to AccuWeather Director of Innovative and Development Jon Porter.

"We will continue communicating, through our public facing digital media properties, information that will help citizens and businesses be aware of upcoming severe weather potential and further understand what impacts can be expected in their area so that they can make improved decisions about how to prepare for dangerous weather," Porter said.

For more information or tips on preparing for severe weather season, visit this website.


Have questions, comments, or a story to share? Email Kristen Rodman at Kristen.Rodman@accuweather.com, follow her on Twitter @Accu_Kristen or Google+. Follow us @breakingweather, or on Facebook and Google+.