I grew up in South Florida. By the time I left, we lived through 17 full-blown hurricanes and tropical storms which were close to meeting the criteria for a hurricane. We had a small home made of cypress wood and while she was sturdy, I clearly recall my Dad saying to my Mom, "We've got to get to the high school. We can't be on the run with 5 kids". The high school was a block away and was a "bomb shelter".
Riding out those monster hurricanes was really terrifying for me as a kid. The last time we took shelter there, I was in "junior high" school aka middle school. All of us and our neighbors gathered in the hallways to stay clear of the windows. The howling was loud, nonstop for the better part of a day and would particularly escalate when a tornado spawned and "came by".
Just recently, the weather folks have actually addressed the fact that tornadoes spawn out of hurricane-force wind. When they started covering Harvey, the meteorologists called them "vortices". My husband, from Oklahoma, got snarky and said, "They're just too afraid to call them what they are, tornadoes". I keep an eye on every storm that hits Florida because my family still lives there.
Adults know better. The kids have no choice. Here's what I want you to know. Please go the SavetheChildren.org/GetReadyGetSafe. This site has common sense and age-appropriate words to explain these situations to kids in ways that reassure them. Most importantly, they have realistic preparation guides for In Case of Emergency (ICE) should you and your kids get separated.
Your primary responsibility as a parent is keeping your kids safe and alive. Don't ever underestimate the power of these "weather events". I've been through hurricanes, ice storms, and earthquakes. Here's what I know. Once it happens, you are on your own. The chance to get prepared is over. You can't live with the consequences.
Just do the best you can, Claudia
Join me on Facebook at Dr. Claudia McCulloch