When the Live Doppler 15 Fury Storm Team provides you a forecast or let’s you know what’s happening with incoming storms, we’re not trying to create panic or fear. Our top priority is to provide you the information you need to make life-saving decisions. But for some people who have a phobia to severe weather, that information can trigger some intense emotional responses that may require professional help.
Tiffany Straley, a mother from Paulding, Ohio, was a textbook case of severe weather phobia. Her nervousness would often begin several days out from when thunderstorms were in the forecast. She would often envision her town or her home destroyed by strong winds and tornadoes. Eventually, that anxiety and fear began to consume her life. There were even times that she would pack up her family and try to drive out of the path of storms.
According to Dr. John Musgrave, a psychologist at Park Center in Fort Wayne, the core of a phobia is anxiety. People become anxious due to lack of control. In the case of severe weather, that is completely out of a person’s control – they have no ability to influence the environment around them, which can then trigger the responses associated with phobias. To cope with these symptoms, experts recommend facing the storms head on, whether that be experiencing the storms in-person or simply learning more about them. Practicing relaxation techniques and breathing skills are also an effective way to manage a phobia.
Tiffany Straley did her own research on severe storms to confront her fear. She looked up statistics about tornadoes and the odds of one actually hitting her house. She also talked to the Live Doppler 15 Fury Storm Team to learn more about what causes severe storms and what steps she needed to be prepared. Tiffany believes she’s overcome her phobia, but still retains a “healthy” fear for the storms – respecting the seriousness of the situation, but not letting it control her life.
So, when severe storms are in the forecast, you should stay informed and be prepared. But don’t be afraid to reach out for help if this causes too much anxiety. According to Dr. Musgrave: “The truth is – we don’t have control over the weather. We do have the ability to control how we respond to it.”