Severe weather and flooding has not been limited to the Midwest. Several areas in the south were hard hit recently, including the city of Houston. No areas area is immune. Winds rip through communities leaving destruction in their path. In Oklahoma the damage was also severe. One group was trapped in a church basement as the tornado was overhead.

Winds, rain and tornados are all part of a severe weather season that means the same things:
recovering, regrouping, rebuilding and hoping for a calmer tomorrow.

Our Five On Your Side First Alert weather team is looking at the severe weather season, with an eye to keeping you and your family safe.

The Great Floods

The last week of December marked one of the most chaotic weeks of weather in the metropolitan area. Houses flooded. Roads were blocked. Homeowners and businesses all over the area took weeks to recover.

Damage Across The Country

After widespread floods, usually up next is the tornado season. We have been really fortunate in this area so far, but ither parts of the country have not been as lucky. Particularly hard hit this season was Oklahoma.

Ride Along St. Louis

Businesses and non profits are coming back. One sign of recovery - "Ride On St. Louis" is serving clients again. The therapy ranch reopened a little more than a month ago. The non-profit sits along the Mississippi River just south of Kimmswick and sustained heavy damage. Volunteers helped repair the ranch which provides therapy for people with disabilities.

Weather Driving Tips

As temperatures warm up for the spring and summer, more people hit the road for outdoor activities, weekend getaways, and vacations.

With more traffic on the highways, more people are at risk when skies turn dark and severe weather threatens.

First Alert Meteorologist Jessica Quick met with an expert who said its a good idea to be aware of your surroundings and make sure your car is prepared if you get caught off guard in the middle of a storm.

Inside Ameren

We stopped by Ameren to see how they prepare for the severe weather season, and not surprising, the most common cause of power outages: Trees and branches falling onto power lines.

Flooded American Veterans' Post

Property damage is another problem in severe weather. The AmVets Post 1 -- in South St. Louis County is searching for a new location. NewsChannel 5's Jennifer Meckles reports about the organization's worries and about what this means for those they help.

Buying Flood Insurance

December brought devastating flooding to the St. Louis area, leaving dozens of victims with property loss or damage.

We wanted to know what people can do to prevent future flood loss if they don't already have flood insurance, so we checked with a local insurance agent.

Mary Lou Lyerla said the amount of coverage you need depends on where you live. Higher risk zones tend to cost more than lower flood risk zones.

Dickey Bub

The manager of a farm and home store, Dickey Bub, in Union, talks about how her staff worked as a team to bring the store back to life. It had been hard hit by the overflowing Bourbeuse River.

Remembering the Good Friday Tornados

Five years ago, the situation was different. On Good Friday a tornado struck with a vengeance. One of the hardest hit places was Lambert Airport. The damage may be in the past, but the lessons learned helped shape the airport's future.

Your Weather Radio

What if we tell you that a little device, just under $20, could save your life? In some cases, a NOAA weather radio can do just that.

Remembering Joplin

The Joplin tornado appeared so quickly it's hard to know how much weather radios would have actually helped. 5 years ago, in the days after May 22, we sent several reporters to cover the aftermath-including Five on Your Side's Casey Nolen who recalls the images of those days.

Union Coming Back

The city administrator in Union, Missouri, talks about how difficult it was for the community to come back after the flood. He also talks about how difficult it was to be in that situation. He talked about the spirit of the city and how its people came together.

Do levees make flooding worse

Since the great flood of 1993 it's estimated more than 70,000 levees have been built. When they work, areas behind them are spared, but some suggest these levees cause the rivers to run higher and force even the largest of them to rise dramatically, including Washington University geologist Robert Criss.

Swift Water Rescue

Flooding is so unpredictable that rescuing people may be measured in seconds. Five on Your Side's Grant Bissell learned about swift water rescues from first responders who constantly improve their skills.

Can Flooding Get Worse

The third National Climate Assessment, a report issued two years ago by a 60 member Federal Advisory Committee including The National Academy of Sciences, found evidence of climate change in every state in every region of the country.

When it comes to heavy rain, the clear consensus among climate experts is that there will be more extreme rain. But how this will impact us locally is less certain.
And some think it's our fault.

Flooding Health

If flooding gets worse, it can only spell some more bad news for your health. Mold loves wet environments. And while it's bad for your house it's worse for your health.

Alive And Well Flooding

Mental health experts believe that flooding can cause stress, besides the physical damage done to a piece of property. Changes in behavior or diet, and irritability could result. Experts say losing a piece of property also means losing memories and those losses are quite hard.

Measuring River Levels

With the historic flooding in December, we wanted a closer look at how the river levels are measured. We visited with the U.S. Geological Survey, which maintains the network of river gages across the country. Of course there’s the old fashioned way to get a river level with the measurement stick up against the pier but there is an interesting blend of old and new.

New Tornado Alley

What’s you understanding of “Tornado Alley”? It may be changing. Of the top ten tornado producing states from 1991-2010 more than half exist outside of the area traditionally known as the birthplace for nature’s most severe storm. A new tornado alley is being considered and it would be much larger.

School Safety

Safety is often regarded as the highest priority in most schools, and it's a core value in the Parkway School District.

Officials at Highcroft Ridge Elementary School had severe weather safety in mind when they redesigned the school's interior to have designated
safe spots in the center of the building.

Students practice severe weather drills twice a year, and teachers told Newschannel 5 the students are well versed in what to do at home, too.