LITTLE ROCK, Ark. – Officials with the Federal Emergency Management Agency are urging preparedness as storms begin sweeping through the midwest and central United States this week that are predicted to bring intense and widespread thunderstorms and even tornadoes.

FEMA officials urge those in possible affected areas to remain alert, charge their cell phone and take steps to prepare now, to potentially save lives and protect property when severe weather hits.

Officials said that severe weather sweeping through the region this week could include intense, long-track tornadoes and is expected to develop Tuesday evening into the overnight hours of Wednesday morning.

Anyone in the path of these storms is asked to take the following steps to prepare now ahead of the storms:

  • Have several ways to receive alerts.
  • Pay attention to local warnings and follow the safety guidance of your local officials.
  • Make sure your emergency kit is stocked and includes non-perishable food, cash, charging devices, a flashlight and batteries in case of power outages.
  • Consider special needs you and your household members might have. Older adults and people with disabilities may need extra assistance to prepare for the storm.
  • Don’t forget the needs of your pets. Many shelters do not take household pets, so remember to create a plan and have supplies available for your animals.
  • Check on your neighbors. As you prepare your family and loved ones for a disaster, check on neighbors in your community to see if they are doing the same or if they might need help to get started.
  • Prepare your property for dangerous weather by clearing out any large or loose materials. Remove dead trees, hanging branches and loose objects in your yard or patio that could be dangerous during severe winds.
  • Create an emergency plan with your family.

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