People in the Valley Describe Storm Anxiety


SHENANDOAH VALLEY (WHSV) People who live in the Shenandoah Valley may not see too much severe weather in their neighborhoods. After some tornadoes in recent years and the derecho of last June, some of those people do feel extra stress when it comes to storms.

It's been a tough year for 10-year-old Kayleigh Viands. On the night of June 29th, 2012, she looked outside and saw a big storm coming.

"Lighting, thunder and wind, blowing really hard," said Kayleigh.

She and the members of her family took shelter and did everything right to protect themselves. When the storm was finished, they only had a few tree limbs down in their yard, but there was something else that lingered after the storm

“I don't know when I see dark clouds it's okay. When I hear thunder it's okay, but when I see lightning, it's scary," said Kayleigh.

Kayleigh said she always pays attention to the wind now, unless it's a sunny day. Her mom said Kayleigh shakes when storms are in the area.

Devin Buchanan lives in Churchville and said he used to love storms. After seeing a funnel cloud touch down a few years ago, that all changed. Buchanan said he's okay unless it's a strong storm.

"And if it's a tornado warning, I'm gone in the hallway," said Buchanan.

Buchanan has been able to find some comfort in knowledge. The more he knows about storms, the better he feels.

"The radar definitely to see wind speed, and what colors of the storm so I know how much rain and if we're going to get any hail, I look at the alerts," said Buchanan.

Kayleigh struggled with the fear, panic and sleepless nights for the past year. It's been tough for her, but it's slowly getting better.

A psychologist says anxiety after major weather events is normal for children and adults. Feeling stress about storms is a recognized phobia called “astraphobia.” In some severe cases, if stress about storms gets worse, a person may need to seek professional help.

Being prepared for storms can help calm nerves. Have a safe place in your home you can go to and have a plan.


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