It's springtime in Montana and that means thunderstorms and severe weather will be increasing in the weeks and months to come.

Montana thunderstorms can and will occasionally produce tornadoes, damaging winds, large hail and flash floods; all of which threaten lives and cause significant property damage.

In 2011 alone, Montana had 9 tornadoes confirmed, 185 high wind and damaging wind events, 274 large hail reports and 25 flash floods; causing hundreds of thousands of dollars in damage. Lightning also resulted in one fatality and 3 injuries.
We can’t prevent severe thunderstorms from occurring, but we can plan now and know what to do when the next round of severe weather threatens.  Take time to learn more about severe weather, develop severe weather preparedness plans, and test vital communications.

Become aware of upcoming hazardous weather by using the theme, “Ready, Set, Go.”
Ready - Monitor National Weather Service Hazardous Weather Outlooks 7 days in advance. The potential for hazardous weather will be outlined along with any uncertainty in the forecast.
Set - As confidence increases, watches will be issued to give you a heads up that you need to be prepared for the possibility of severe weather within the next 8 hours.
Go - Warnings will be issued when the National Weather Service is confident that a storm is producing severe weather. Seek shelter now if you are in the path of the storm.