By Tammie Souza

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — The CBS3 weather team is issuing an alert for Thursday for the threat of severe weather. So how can you prepare for severe weather? Meteorologist Tammie Souza explains what you, your family and your coworkers should do.

Severe weather can strike year-round, but spring signals the official start of severe weather season and this is the time to review and prepare.

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Severe weather in the Delaware Valley can include tornadoes, flooding, damaging winds and lightning. All of which was on full display last fall when the remnants of Hurricane Ida tore through the area.

Keeping you and your family safe during any type of severe weather involves communication, location and education, according to Todd Stieritz, a coordinator with the Montgomery County Department of Public Safety.

“First is to discuss how you’re going to communicate with your family, with your coworkers, with your friends both before, during and after the disaster. The second thing is to discuss a location you’re going to go to. If you all have to leave your home, if you all have to leave your workplace, where are you going to go and meet up with your family members or your coworkers or colleagues? And third, is to educate yourself, to do some research ahead of time on what are the different hazards that may impact your area, and along with those hazards, what are the types of advisories, warnings, and watches issued by the National Weather Service that will make you aware of what is going on,” Stieritz said.

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Knowing when and what to prepare for is key to your safety. Stay informed through TV, emergency alerts, weather radios and apps, like our CBS3 Weather app.

There are also tornado sirens, but they are only useful if you are outside, and they do not sound for damaging winds, intense lightning or flooding.

Speaking of flooding, it is our most common severe weather hazard, but as our climate changes, we have seen more violent severe weather, including tornadoes.

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If you are still not sure what a watch and warning are, a watch means severe weather is possible — stay informed, it may occur within hours. A warning means severe weather is happening and you need to seek shelter.