A “watch” means that hazardous weather is possible. People should have a plan of action in case a storm threatens, and they should listen for later information and possible warnings especially when planning travel or outdoor activities.
A “warning” is issued when a hazardous weather event is occurring, imminent or likely. A warning means weather conditions pose a threat to life or property. People in the path of the storm need to take protective action.
“Many times, a shift in the wind can signal an approaching storm,” Vossler says. “If you hear thunder in the distance, you can measure how far away the thunderstorm is by counting the seconds between the lightning you see and the thunder you hear. Once you count the seconds, divide by 5 and that will tell you a rough estimate of how many miles away the thunderstorm is.”
The Dallas Office of Emergency Management encourages residents to have an emergency plan and kit ready. Residents should be weather aware during severe weather events by monitoring the weather and ensuring their electronic devices are configured to receive alerts. Public safety officials will warn residents of emergencies by sending cell phone notifications and activating the City of Dallas Outdoor Warning Siren System.
Mobile, manufactured, trailer homes and recreational vehicles (RVs) are not safe places to shelter during severe weather. Find a sturdy building or structure, one with walls and a foundation, and plan to shelter in the basement or a small, interior, windowless room on the lowest level for protection.
The safest place for residents according to the Dallas Office of Emergency Management is indoors and away from all windows. If you are outside in a vehicle, pull over to a safe area; stay away from trees during lightning and stay away from mobile homes and highways during tornados. During flooding, roads can be dangerous; don’t underestimate water currents and risk your safety.