Severe Weather: How to Stay Safe
Remember, a WATCH means that conditions are favorable for severe weather to occur. You should WATCH out for storms! A WARNING means the event is happening or expected to occur very soon. You should take action to protect your life and property!
Here's a few safety tips to make sure you and your family stay safe as the storms move through:
BEFORE THE STORMS:
Think about where you will go when storms approach. Know the shelter at home, school or church. Have a plan- know how you will receive warnings. Have multiple ways to receive weather warnings. A great FREE source of weather alerts is our StormTrack 5 Mobile app for iPhone and Android.
Notify family and friends who may not know storms are coming. Bring in any outdoor objects that may blow around during the storms. Be mindful of where you park your car. Don't park under a tree or other object that could fall during storms. Unplug electrical devices before the storms approach to minimize the damage from any electrical surge Have a flashlight and shoes handy. Charge cell phones and your laptop computer. Put a whistle or other noise making device in your tornado safe spot (often the most interior room or basement). In a worst-case scenario when your house is destroyed, you can use this noisemaker to let emergency crews know where you are. If the power goes out, have a backup plan. Watch the live stream on our News 5 app.
PETS: Take care of your pets too! Make sure your pets are wearing identification and you know what you will do with them if you have to take shelter. Many pets can become scared during storms and the last thing you want is to have to try and round up Man's Best Friend when a tornado is approaching! Have a leash on hand and some treats.
DURING THE STORMS: Be aware! Not scared! Remain calm and stay informed. Most of the time, even if you're under a warning, only a small area see's the strongest winds or hail. However, you should still treat the storm seriously. If strong winds approach, move to an interior room away from windows. Be alert for falling trees. Try to avoid driving if you can during the heavy rain and wind. Stay off corded telephones, put off taking a shower and remain indoors. Use flashlights, not candles to minimize the risk of fire. Watch our live coverage on air or on our Facebook page.
LISTEN TO STORM COVERAGE ON OUR RADIO PARTNERS USING YOUR CELL PHONE AS AN FM RADIO.
TORNADOES: In the event of a tornado, the safest place to be is on the lowest floor of your home or business. Put as many walls between you and the outside as possible and stay away from windows. Cover your head with your hands, a blanket/pillow, mattress or a helmet. Studies have shown that wearing a bicycle, motorcycle, football or other type of helmet can significantly lower your risk of head trauma if struck by a tornado. Turn up your TV so you can hear the coverage and know when it is safe to exit your safe spot. Many times, the weather will get calm before a tornado hits. If the power goes out, wait at least 20 min then leave your shelter. If in an apartment complex, move to the lowest level of your complex. Make friends with a neighbor before the storm. Avoid large buildings such as church assembly halls, gymnasiums and grocery stores. With such large roofs, they often feel more of an impact from tornadic winds. If in a hotel, notify others as you move to safety. If in a mobile home, evacuate it and head to a more substantial shelter. Mobile homes are easily torn apart by the winds in a tornado. Don't open windows, take shelter under an overpass or waste time trying to take shelter in the SW corner of a building. These are all tornado myths.
SEVERE THUNDERSTORMS: Severe Thunderstorms produce winds of 58 mph or greater and/or at least 1" hail. It's important to protect yourself from falling trees and the dangers of lightning during severe storms. Stay off corded devices, power down electronics to protect them from a power surge and avoid traveling. When a severe thunderstorm warning is issued, treat it seriously. Severe t-storms can sometimes produce damage that is as bad as a weak tornado.
FLASH FLOODING: Flash Flooding kills more people on average each year than any other form of severe weather. NEVER drive through a flooded roadway. The road may be washed out under the flood waters. Swift moving water can also knock a person off their feet or float a car. Most flood deaths occur in automobiles. Be smart- Turn Around, Don't Drown!