The arrival of spring is happily welcomed across the country, but this also means the arrivalof more unstable, severe weather.
Severe Storms Volatile weather is forecast for many parts of the country this week, with the potential for severe thunderstorms that bring damaging winds, large hail and tornadoes.
If severe storms are forecast for your area:
- Listen to local news or a NOAA Weather Radio to stay informed about watches and warnings.
- Know your community's warning system. Communities have different ways of warning residents about tornadoes, with many having sirens intended for outdoor warning purposes.
- Pick a safe room in your home where household members and pets may gather during a tornado. This should be a basement, storm cellar or an interior room on the lowest floor with no windows.
- Prepare for high winds by removing diseased and damaged limbs from trees.
- Move or secure lawn furniture, trash cans, hanging plants or anything else that can be picked up by the wind and become a projectile.
Watch for tornado danger signs:
- Dark, often greenish clouds—a phenomenon caused by hail
- Wall cloud—an isolated lowering of the base of a thunderstorm
- Cloud of debris
- Large hail
- Funnel cloud—a visible rotating extension of the cloud base
- Roaring noise
Wildfires Across the Plains and Southwest, dry conditions and strong winds converged over the weekend to create a breeding ground for wildfires. In Kansas, Oklahoma, Texas, New Mexico and Colorado, multiple wildfires have threatened homes and businesses, and in some cases led to the evacuation of residents.
The Red Cross opened shelters in several states in response to the evacuations, and also provided food and drinks for emergency responders.
If wildfires are reported in your area:
- Be ready to leave at a moment’s notice.
- Listen to local radio and television stations for updated emergency information.
- Confine pets to one room so that you can find them if you need to evacuate quickly.
- Arrange for temporary housing at a friend or relative’s home outside the threatened area.
Limit exposure to smoke and dust:
- Listen and watch for air quality reports and health warnings about smoke.
- Keep indoor air clean by closing windows and doors to prevent outside smoke from getting in.
- Use the recycle or recirculate mode on the air conditioner in your home or car. If you do not have air conditioning and it is too hot to stay inside with closed windows, seek shelter elsewhere.
- When smoke levels are high, do not use anything that burns and adds to indoor air pollution, such as candles, fireplaces and gas stoves. Do not vacuum because it stirs up particles that are already inside your home.
- If you have asthma or another lung disease, follow your health care provider's advice and seek medical care if your symptoms worsen.
For more preparedness information, visit www.redcross.org.