People in parts of Texas and Louisiana should be on the lookout today for severe weather and possible tornadoes.
The National Weather Service reports there is an enhanced risk of severe weather across southeastern Texas and southwestern Louisiana, including several inches of rain, large hail, tornadoes and flash flooding. The American Red Cross is preparing to respond if necessary and offers steps folks can take to help them stay safe.
SEVERE WEATHER SAFETY
The Red Cross issues these steps to help people stay safe as the storms move into their area:
Watch for storm signs, such as darkening skies, lightning flashes and increasing wind.
If thunder roars, go indoors. If you can hear thunder, you are close enough to be in danger of lightning. Postpone outdoor activities if thunderstorms are likely to occur. Lightning can still be dangerous even if it’s not raining.
If a severe thunderstorm warning is issued, take shelter in a substantial building or vehicle with the windows closed.
If you are driving, try to safely exit the road and park.
If you’re outside and cannot reach a safe building, avoid high ground, water, tall or isolated trees and metal objects, such as fences and bleachers.
If someone has been struck by lightning, call 911.
Anyone who has sustained a lightning strike requires professional medical care. Check the person for burns and other injuries. If the person has stopped breathing, begin CPR. It’s safe to touch people who have been struck by lightning, as they don’t retain an electrical charge.
POWER OUTAGE SAFETY
For prolonged power outages, there are ways that you can minimize loss and keep everyone as comfortable as possible.
Use flashlights in the dark — not candles.
Don’t drive unless necessary. Traffic lights will be out and roads could be congested.
Turn off and unplug any appliances, equipment and electronics. When the power comes back on, surges or spikes can damage equipment.
Leave one light on so you’ll know when power is restored.
During a prolonged outage, keep refrigerator and freezer doors closed as much as possible to protect your food. Use perishable food from the refrigerator first. Then, use food from the freezer.
If you are using a generator, keep it dry and don’t use it in wet conditions.
Never use a generator, grill, camp stove or other gasoline, propane, natural gas or charcoal-burning device inside a home, garage, basement or other partially enclosed area. Keep this equipment outside and away from doors, windows and vents, which could allow carbon monoxide to come indoors.
Operate the generator on a dry surface under an open canopy-like structure, such as under a tarp held up by poles. Don’t touch a generator with wet hands.
Turn the generator off and let it cool down before refueling. Gasoline spilled on hot engine parts could catch fire.
Plug appliances directly into the generator. Never plug a generator into a wall outlet.
You can find tornado safety steps here.
Download the free Red Cross First Aid app so you’ll know what to do if emergency help is delayed and the free Emergency app for weather alerts, open Red Cross shelter locations and safety steps for different emergencies. Choose whether you want to view the content in English or Spanish with an easy-to-find language selector. Find these and all of the Red Cross apps in smartphone app stores by searching for the American Red Cross or going to redcross.org/apps.
CLIMATE CRISIS The climate crisis is driving extreme weather across the country. As these extreme weather disasters increase, more people need help from the Red Cross. Find out more about the Red Cross and its work on the climate crisis here.