Time to Review Your Severe Weather Plan

| March 2, 2008 @ 4:37 pm | 25 Replies

With a significant severe weather outbreak expected tomorrow night, it’s time to check your severe weather safety plan. It is critical that you evaluate the best places for safety in your home or place of business and be ready to move there immediately when severe weather threatens. There are several places we don’t want you to be…

1. Manufactured housing – mobile homes are no place to be in severe weather. Go to a friend, neighbor or relative’s home or a designated shelter.
2. Second floor or higher – especially in apartments, hotels and dorms is no place to be. Make friends with someone on the lowest floor or go to the designated shelter.
3. Vehicles – vehicles of any kind are no place to be. Be weather aware if you will be driving when severe weather is in the area. Do not drive into a storm. Go somewhere safe and wait out the storm.
4. Outside – Getting caught outside is no place to be. If a tornado does catch you in an exposed position, find a ditch or ravine.

Your plan should include:
1. How you will receive weather information wherever you are. Understand the difference between a watch and a warning. A watch means that conditions are favorable for severe weather. A warning means it is occurring or about to occur. A weatheradio is the best way to be alerted to bulletins. Tune into ABC3340 for minute by minute coverage. Stay up to date with the latest thinking here on the blog. And don’t ignore severe thunderstorm warnings. This tip was brought home with deadly force this week in Leeds.
2. Where you will go when severe weather threatens. Ideally, it would be a specially designed and constructed safe room. Underground is best, but just remember, lowest floor, small room or closet, away from windows and doors, under something sturdy. Try not to be under large objects above in case the floor above fails. Put as many walls between you and the tornado as possible. Protect your head! Use mattresses or sleeping bags. Do not open windows or doors!
If you find yourself caught in unfamiliar territory such as a store or public facility, inquire as to what area is the designated shelter location. Ideally, we would like you be in familiar surroundings when the storms hit.

Be able to sense signs of an approaching tornado in case you don’t hear the warning: especially intense lightning, a loud roaring sound or large hail followed by a dead calm. Act immediately!

Finally, check out Tim Coleman’s excellent blog post about tornado safety which he filed after the Prattville tornado.

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About the Author ()

Bill Murray is the President of The Weather Factory. He is the site's official weather historian and a weekend forecaster. He also anchors the site's severe weather coverage. Bill Murray is the proud holder of National Weather Association Digital Seal #0001 @wxhistorian

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