DAYTON, Ohio (WDTN) — Severe weather has already struck this year in the Miami Valley, but the main season is still yet to come, and preparing ahead of time could save your life.

Severe weather is here, and you should have a plan in place in case it strikes. First you should know the difference between a watch and warning.

Using a cake analogy, a watch means you have the ingredients for the cake, or severe weather and are issued hours in advance. A warning is a finished cake, the ingredients have come together, just like in a warning, and severe weather is imminent.

When a warning is issued, it is important to know where to shelter. The best place to shelter is a basement, but are not in every home. You should avoid windows and outside walls and should cover yourself with a mattress in the most interior room on the lowest level of the home. It is important to not only know what to do but practice and communicate that with your family.

Mike Robbins, Director of the Mercer County Emergency Management Agency said, “When it’s happening. You know, your adrenaline is going to be flowing and it may you may be scared. So, if you’ve practiced, you will go automatically.”

If severe weather strikes, it is very important to have a kit prepared to get you through the days following, including the two most important items, food and water.

Robbins said, “Definitely food and water enough to last three days. And that will be food that that need that you can eat, you know, just right out of the can, you know, with a pop top down or out of the bag or something like that.”

You should have multiple ways of receiving your watches and warnings. You can get warnings sent straight to your phone with the Storm Team 2 Weather App.