Extreme weather is a concern throughout every season of the year. From snowstorms to hurricanes and even tropical storms, it’s important to ensure you and your family’s safety throughout these weather events. Storms are more than an inconvenience to outdoor plans – they can present serious safety risks for you and your family.
There are approximately 100,000 thunderstorms in the United States each year that cause, on average, 200 deaths and 700 injuries. Up to 10% of storms each year will be severe enough to produce high winds, flash floods and even tornadoes that significantly increase the risk of personal injury or property damage. Here are some recommendations to help keep you and your loved ones safe during storm season.
Before the Storm
There are clear signs to be aware of before a storm touches down. Knowing what to look out for can give you the needed time to take cover and find a safe place to weather out the storm. Signs to look out for include darkening skies and changing winds.
Not only is it important to be aware of the signs, but it’s also good practice to check the weather forecast before leaving for extended outdoor activities. If a storm is approaching, ensure your electronics are fully charged and keep them with you at all times to stay updated on the weather.
Another best practice is to postpone outdoor activities and stay indoors if thunderstorms are imminent. This is simply the best way to avoid being caught in a dangerous situation. Also, check on those who may have trouble finding shelter if severe weather threatens and ensure they're protected.
During a Storm
To ensure the safety of you and your loved ones, make sure you’re in a safe location. If you can hear thunder, you are close enough to a storm to be struck by lightning, go to safe shelter immediately. Thunder can typically be heard from 3-4 miles away from the storm center.
It’s also good to move into a sturdy building or hardtop automobile, do not take shelter in small sheds or under isolated trees. If you’re near the water, move more inland and stay on land.
Telephone lines and metal pipes can conduct electricity. Unplug appliances not necessary to obtain weather information. Avoid using telephones or any other electrical appliance in severe storms, unless there’s an emergency. Along those lines power surges from lightning can overload surge protectors, do not take a bath or shower, and turn off the air conditioner.
Get to higher ground if flash floods are possible. Once flooding begins, abandon cars and climb to higher ground. Do not attempt to drive to safety. Most flash flood deaths actually occur when people attempt to drive and their automobiles get swept away in the surges.
Storms can happen at any time with no warning and can dramatically impact communities, it is crucial to have a plan in place to ensure your safety during extreme weather events.
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This information is provided by Veolia North America to help you protect your personal safety. Content is drawn from Weather.gov and other online safety resources.