As spring and summer months approach you want to be prepared for the potential of severe weather. Severe thunderstorms, lightning, floods and tornadoes are all possible threats to our area.
Weather Watches and Warnings
If there is a potential for severe weather you should monitor the changing situation closely by television, radio, Internet or weather alert scanners.
During a severe weather event you will see or hear the National Weather Service post watches and warnings. It is important to know the difference between the two terms.
When a watch is posted it means that conditions are ideal for the potential of a select weather event. The event is not necessarily imminent nor has anything been spotted as of yet. It does mean you should monitor changing conditions closely.
When a weather warning is posted it means that the event is happening in or near the effected area.
In the event of a Severe Thunder Storm Warning or Tornado Warning, you should take cover immediately.
According the the National Weather Service over 50 persons are killed by lightning strikes each year.
As soon as you can hear thunder you should take cover in an enclosed shelter or vehicle. Stay away from open windows. You should remain in shelter until 30 minutes after you last heard thunder. Lightning can strike up to 10 miles away from a storm even when the sky above you is blue.
Never attempt to walk or drive across a flooded roadway. As little as 6 inches of rushing water has enough force to move an SUV.
In addition to strong currents flood waters can hide holes, submerged objects and may contain harmful bacteria or hazardous chemicals.
Many drivers have found themselves stranded due to water being deeper than initially thought and their vehicle stalls in the water.
If you live in a flood prone area and a flood warning is issued, prepare to evacuate your family and pets immediately. Flood waters can rise rapidly and sudden breaks in dikes or levies can cause a sudden flash flooding.
When a tornado warning is issued you must take cover immediately. If you are in a home go to the lowest level or an interior room/hallway away from windows.
If you live in a mobile home you must go to a park shelter or go outside to the lowest point you can find.
If you are in a vehicle and you see a tornado do not try and out run it. The tornado's path and speed can be deceiving and it can alter course at any time. You want to leave the vehicle and find the lowest spot possible preferably a dry ditch or ravine.
DO NOT take shelter under highway overpasses!!
If you are in a large store or business go to the designated tornado shelter. Stay away from large rooms with wide roof spans and areas with large amounts of windows.
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