Fourteen stuffed animals One pair of clean underwear A toothbrush (that was a surprise!) A tin “Frozen” box with $1.83 inside A water bottle Three markers A pad of paper shaped like a Halloween kitten A box of kids’ energy bars stolen from the kitchen cupboardQ: What do the above items and the picture of the ominous looking storm clouds have in common? A: They are what a first-grader packs in an Emergency Preparedness Bag in case of a tornado. Before last month, I never worried much about tornadoes. We do have them in Colorado occasionally but usually on the plains. We live fairly close to the Flatirons which are the beginnings of the Rocky Mountains. I had always thought the mountains somehow offered us protection from storms gaining enough energy to become tornadoes. Apparently, that isn't the case--see the article at the bottom of this blog called "Fact or Myth: Colorado's Mountains Offer Protection from Tornadoes." Rats. The increasingly intense weather that much of the United States (not to mention the world) has been experiencing lately has made me more and more nervous Within two years both of my home states—Vermont and Colorado, experienced devastating 100 year floods where rushing water and steep terrain made perfect conditions for fast moving walls of river water and snow melt to destroy houses and roads, move boulders the size of small cars, rip trees up from the roots and generally wreak havoc upon anything in its path. This past May and June we’ve had more flooding in Boulder. We had a month straight of rain, several damaging hail storms, lightening storms that lasted for hours and so much electricity in the air that the clouds flashed like strobe lights. We've also had dozens of tornado warnings—and at least nine tornadoes have touched down in Colorado. One of those was twenty miles from here in Longmont. That’s the closest I’ve ever been to a tornado. Now I realize I need to stock up on bottled drinking water, canned food, batteries and flashlights and we now have a “tornado plan.” If a tornado or super storm comes our way, the whole family will head to a large storage closet with no windows that is under the stairs in the basement. For those of you who have experienced extreme weather, and especially those of you with infants and toddlers, do you have a designated place to go in your house? And if so, what supplies do you keep there? Drinking water, extra cans of formula or baby food? Do you have extra disposable diapers in case you can’t wash your cloth ones for a week? What else do you have on hand for your little ones?