Safety Steps to Follow as Severe Weather Heads to the South
January 10, 2020
Severe weather, including thunderstorms, hail, flooding and tornadoes, is predicted from Oklahoma and Texas into the lower Mississippi Valley through the weekend and the American Red Cross is preparing to respond if necessary. People in the path of this dangerous weather threat are urged to get ready now and the Red Cross offers safety steps they should follow.
Listen to local news or NOAA Weather Radio for emergency updates. Watch for signs of a storm, like darkening skies, lightning flashes or increasing wind.
Postpone outdoor activities if thunderstorms are likely to occur. Many people struck by lightning are not in the area where rain is occurring.
If a severe thunderstorm warning is issued, take shelter in a substantial building or in a vehicle with the windows closed. Get out of mobile homes that can blow over in high winds.
If you can hear thunder, you are close enough to be in danger from lightning. If thunder roars, go indoors! The National Weather Service recommends staying inside for at least 30 minutes after the last thunder clap.
Avoid electrical equipment and telephones. Use battery-powered TVs and radios instead.
Shutter windows and close outside doors securely. Keep away from windows.
Do not take a bath, shower or use plumbing.
If you are driving, try to safely exit the roadway and park. Stay in the vehicle and turn on the emergency flashers until the heavy rain ends. Avoid touching metal or other surfaces that conduct electricity in and outside the vehicle.
If you are outside and cannot reach a safe building, avoid high ground; water; tall, isolated trees; and metal objects such as fences or bleachers. Picnic shelters, dugouts and sheds are NOT safe.
Know your warnings. A tornado WATCH means a tornado is possible. A tornado WARNING means a tornado is already occurring or will happen soon. Go to your safe place immediately. Don’t wait until you see the tornado to act. If you do nothing else:
Listen to local area radio, NOAA radio or TV stations for the latest information and updates.
Move to an underground shelter, basement or safe room. If none is available, a small, windowless interior room or hallway on the lowest level of a sturdy building is the safest alternative.
Remember: no area of a mobile home is safe during a tornado. If you have access to a sturdy shelter or a vehicle, go there immediately, using your seat belt if driving.
Watch for tornado danger signs – dark, often greenish clouds, a wall cloud or cloud of debris.
Move or secure items outside that can be picked up by the wind.
Bring your companion animals indoors and keep them under your direct control
If outdoors, seek shelter in a basement, shelter or sturdy building.
If you cannot quickly walk to a shelter, immediately get into a vehicle and try to drive to the closest sturdy shelter. Remember to buckle your seat belt.
Stay away from bridge/highway overpasses.
If strong winds and flying debris occurs while driving, pull over and park, keeping your seat belt on and engine running. Put your head down below the windows, covering your head with your hands and a blanket.
RED CROSS APPS Download the Red Cross Emergency App. You can use the app’s Family Safe feature to help stay in touch with loved ones. The First Aid App provides expert advice including what to do for burns, broken bones, and breathing and cardiac emergencies. The apps can be downloaded for free in app stores or at redcross.org/apps.
About the American Red Cross:
The American Red Cross shelters, feeds and provides comfort to victims of disasters; supplies about 40% of the nation's blood; teaches skills that save lives; distributes international humanitarian aid; and supports veterans, military members and their families. The Red Cross is a nonprofit organization that depends on volunteers and the generosity of the American public to deliver its mission. For more information, please visit redcross.org or cruzrojaamericana.org, or visit us on Twitter at @RedCross.