Severe Weather Information
Watches & Warnings
- Thunderstorm WATCH
Means that weather conditions are favorable for a thunderstorm to develop.
- Thunderstorm WARNING
Means that severe weather conditions are present, and listeners should seek cover immediately. Severe thunderstorms produce heavy rains, strong winds, and can produce hail and possibly tornadoes. It is advised that you remain indoors and stay away from windows and doors.
- Tornado WATCH
Means that conditions are favorable for producing a tornado. It is advised that you remain indoors and stay away from windows and doors.
- Tornado WARNING
Means that an actual tornado has been sighted in the area. It is advised that you seek shelter immediately – preferably in a basement or storm cellar. If none are available, seek shelter in an interior room. Avoid all windows and doors. If you are outside, seek shelter in a building or low lying area.
- Stay indoors as much as possible and limit exposure to the sun.
- Stay on the lowest floor, out of the sunshine if air conditioning in not available.
- Consider spending the warmest part of the day in public buildings such as libraries, schools, movie theaters, shopping malls, and other community facilities. Circulating air can cool the body by increasing the evaporation rate of perspiration.
- Eat well-balanced, light, regular meals. Avoid using salt tablets unless directed to do so by a physician.
- Drink plenty of water. Persons who have epilepsy or heart, kidney, or liver disease, are on fluid-restricted diets, or have a problem with fluid retention, should consult a doctor before increasing their liquid intake.
- Limit intake of alcoholic beverages.
- Dress in loose-fitting, lightweight, and light-colored clothes that cover as much skin as possible.
- Protect your face and head by wearing a wide-brimmed hat.
- Never leave children or pets in closed vehicles.
- Avoid strenuous work during the warmest part of the day. Use a buddy system when working in extreme heat and take frequent breaks.
Lightning / Thunderstorms
- When should you seek shelter?
Lightning can strike as far as 10 miles from an area where it is raining. If you can hear thunder, you are within lightning’s striking distance. Seek shelter immediately.
- Outdoor activities:
Minimize the risk of being struck by lightning. If you are boating or swimming, get out of your boat and away from water. Find shelter immediately. Most lightning deaths and injuries occur during the summer months. Where organized outdoor sports activities take place, coaches, camp counselors, and other adults must stop activities at the first sound of thunder. This ensures that everyone has time to get into a large building or enclosed vehicle. Leaders of outdoor events should have a written plan that all staff are aware of and enforce.
- Indoor activities – things to avoid:
Inside buildings, stay off of corded phones, computers, and other electrical equipment that could potentially put you in direct contact with an electric current. Stay away from indoor or outdoor pools, tubs, showers, and other plumbing. Use surge suppressors for important equipment. Install ground fault protectors on circuits near water or outdoors. When inside, wait 30 minutes after the last strike before going out again.
- Helping a lightning strike victim:
If a person is struck by lightning, call 911 and get medical care immediately. Cardiac arrest and heart rythm irregularities, burns, and nerve damage are common in cases where people are struck by lightning. However, with proper treatment, including CPR if necessary, most victims survive a lightning strike. You are in no danger helping a lighting victim. The charge will not affect you.
Thunderstorms with lightning are dangerous. With common sense, you can preserve your safety and the safety of those who are with you. At the first clap of thunder, go into a large building or a fully enclosed vehicle. Wait 30 minutes until after the last clap of thunder to go back outside.
- Houses with basements:
Avoid windows. Go to the basement and seek shelter under a sturdy structure such as heavy table or workbench. Covering yourself with a mattress or sleeping bag may also offer some protection. Take note of the location of very heavy objects on the floor above such as pianos, refrigerators, waterbeds, etc. and avoid seeking shelter below that area. They could fall down through a weakened floor and crush you.
- Houses without basements, dorms, or apartments:
Avoid windows. Go to the lowest floor. Seek out smaller interior rooms such as a bathroom, closet, hallway with now windows, or under a stairwell. Crouch as low as possible to the floor, facing downward, and cover your head with your hands. A bath tub may offer a shell of partial protection. Even in an interior room, you should cover yourself with some sort of thick padding such as a mattress or blankets. This is to protect yourself from falling debris in case the roof and ceiling fall.
- In an office building, hospital, or nursing home:
Go directly to an enclosed, windowless area in the center of the building, away from glass. Crouch down and cover your head. Interior stairwells are usually good places to take shelter, and if not crowded, allow you to get to a lower level quickly. Stay out of the elevators. You could be trapped in them if the power is lost.
- In a mobile home:
Get out! Even if your home is tied down, you are probably safer outside, even if the only alternative is to seek shelter out in the open. Most tornadoes can destroy even tied-down mobile homes. It’s best not to take such an incredible risk in hopes that yours will make it. If there is a sturdy permanent building within easy running distance, seek shelter there. Otherwise, lie flat on low ground away from your home, protecting your head. If possible, seek open ground away from trees and cars, which could be blown onto you.
- At School:
Follow the drill! Go to the interior hall or room in an orderly way as you are told. Crouch low, head down, and protect the back of your head with your arms. Stay away from windows and large open rooms like gyms and auditoriums.
- In a car or truck:
Vehicles are extremely dangerous during a tornado. If the tornado is visible, appears far away, and the traffic is light, you may be able to drive our of its path by moving at right angles to the tornado. Otherwise, park the car as quickly and safely as possible, out of the way of traffic. Get out of the vehicle and seek shelter in a sturdy building. If you are in the open country, run to lower ground away from any cars which could roll over onto you. Lie flat, face-down, protecting the back of your head with your arms. Avoid seeking shelter under bridges, which can create deadly traffic hazards while offering little protection against flying debris.
If possible, seek shelter in a sturdy building. If none is available, lie flat, face-down on lower ground, protecting the back of your head with your arms. Get as far away from trees and cars as possible.
- In a shopping mall or large store:
Do not panic. Watch for others. Move as quickly as possible to an interior bathroom, storage room or other small enclosed area, away from windows.
- In a church or theater:
Do not panic. If possible, move quickly but orderly to an interior bathroom or hallway, away from windows. Crouch face-down and protect your head with your arms. If there is no time to do that, get under the seats or pews, protecting your head with your arms or hands.
Here’s what you can do during a flood to keep your family safe.
- Fill bathtubs, sinks and jugs with clean water in case water becomes contaminated.
- Listen to a battery-operated radio for the latest storm information.
- If local authorities instruct you to do so, turn off all utilities at the main power switch and close the main gas valve.
- If told to evacuate your home, do so immediately.
- If waters start to rise inside your house before you are evacuated, retreat to the second floor, the attic, or if necessary, the roof.
- Floodwaters may carry raw sewage, chemical waste and other disease-spreading substances. If you’ve come in contact with floodwaters, wash your hands with soap and disinfected water.
- Avoid walking through floodwaters. As little as six inches of moving water can knock you off your feet.
- Don’t drive through a flooded area. If you come upon a flooded road, turn around and go another way. A car can be carried away by as little as two feet of flood water.
- Electric current passes easily through water, so stay away from downed power lines and electrical wires.
- Animals lose their homes in floods too. Be aware that even domesticated animals may be confused and unpredictable in a flood situation.