Some people see a stormy forecast and get excited. The hairs on their arms stand up with the anticipation of getting to spot a giant, dirty, terrifying death spiral. They dream of sitting on their porch watching pickups and farm animals swirling through the air at breakneck speeds.

I am not “some people.” Well, I am not those some people.

When I see a stormy forecast, my brain immediately clicks into “Holy gravy, it’s happening,” mode. I then proceed to go through my tried-and-true process of getting sweaty, thinking of summer-blockbuster-Hollywood-level worst case scenarios, and convincing myself not to barf.

You see, I’ve been perfecting severe weather anxiety since I was a kindergartner. Even a tornado drill would send me crying to my mom’s 5th grade classroom. As you can imagine, I’ve developed a line-up of highly effective tips to make it through a day full of amped-up meteorologists and storm-induced anxiety.

So, if you’ll kindly take my hand and bear with me (sorry, it’s probably already sweaty), I’ll proceed to deal with anxiety in the best way I know how: making a list of things I feel like I can control while heavily relying on wisecracks and attempts at nervous humor.

  1. Stock up on batteries and flashlights. Never candles.

Why never candles? Any experienced anxietess worth her salt knows that a piece of debris could fly into the basement, knock a candle onto an extremely flammable surface (like an end-table covered in newspaper that has been soaked in nail polish remover or something similar), and burn the entire house down. Rookie mistake.

  1. Fill up all of your BPA free water bottles.

If the absolute worst thing you can think of happens, you’ll want to make sure you’re stocked up on water. But if you’ve got bottles that you can fill up, you should do that rather than buy a package of bottled H2O. Remember, you can’t forget about your environmental anxiety, either, man.

  1. Buy a weather radio.

The best way to stay on top of weather alerts is to buy an NOAA weather radio. It’s one of the most accurate ways to receive notice of giant, man-eating wind tunnels of death.

It’s also the loudest. I’m serious, it sounds like somebody drove an ambulance with the sirens on right through your front door. Maybe throw a towel on top of that sucker or something if you’ve got it next to your bed.

  1. Get connected. Like, using the technology and the internets.

If you would like to add another layer of alertness to your weather routine (think of it as an anti-anxiety cardigan), you can load a weather app to your phone. I used the local news station’s app where we lived previously, but I think I’ll try out WeatherBug this time around for my weather alert needs. I also find that Twitter crushes it for real-time updates.

  1. Charge ALL of your electronic devices and buy a season of Paw Patrol on iTunes.

When predicted severe weather turns into actual severe weather, I kind of shut down. Not like in a “I’m cowering and crying and feeling guilty about things from my past that I should have made amends for” way, but in more of a “Okay. What would Schwarzenegger do? Be like Schwarzenegger. Focus like Schwarzenegger. You can pick up two 30+ pound children under your arms and run, right? Yeah, you can do that,” kind of way.

Basically, when I’m in Tornado Survival Mode, I’m crap at playing imagination games and staying level-headed while playing Uno with three-year-olds. So, I make sure all of our devices are charged; this includes that old iPhone 4 that only gets used for listening to 90s hip hop and bluegrass music in the garage. This includes my laptop, the iPad, and any phones we have. I also make sure that we’ve got a season of something loaded onto the devices, so that if the power goes out and takes the WiFi with it, we’re covered.

  1. NEVER watch Twister between the months of March and October.

Now, we all know that Twister is one of the best movies of the 90s… possibly of all time. I mean, we all know that. However, you need to resist the temptation and the perplexingly strong and attractive pull of 90s Bill Paxton, and wait until the winter time to watch that cinematic gem. The most skilled connoisseurs of weather anxiety know that the sheer act of watching a tornado movie has the capability of conjuring up a WEATHER EVENT in your area. Why risk it?

(Addendum: the same goes for Night of the Twisters starring Devon Sawa. Sharknado doesn’t count.)


If you need me, I won’t be at Target buying batteries because, friends, you know I’ve already been there. I will, however, be searching through toy boxes and cupboards trying to find our flashlights.
… so I guess, if I can’t find them, I’ll probably be at Target again. See you there?

Lauren Bonk

Lauren Bonk is a freelance copywriter out of Omaha who's been wrangling family life and words since 2010. She always shows up with a healthy dose of optimism, a mug of coffee in her hand, and a solid high five. (But not too solid, because coffee is hot and that would be painful.)