While there are no official lightning watches or warnings, you can keep alert for thunder, lightning, and other signs that are often associated with thunderstorms, such as darkening clouds and sudden wind shifts.
What To Do:
- Unplug all appliances, including air conditioner, before the storm hits.
- Listen for storm updates on a battery-powered radio.
- Avoid using the phone. Telephone lines can conduct electricity.
- Stay away from faucets, sinks, and bathtubs, as metal pipes also conduct electricity.
- Secure your pets on a leash or in a carrier.
- If you are outside, take cover in the best shelter you can find.
- If you are in your car, keep the windows closed.
Hurricane season runs from June to November, so pay attention to any significant weather systems building in the Atlantic through the summer and fall.
What To Do:
- Be ready with a battery-powered radio nearby.
- If you are not told to evacuate, stay put.
- Fill food-grade containers with water from your tap ahead of time.
- Place all valuables and records in a waterproof container and store on the highest floor of your home or a safe area.
- If you have to evacuate, make sure you turn off water and electric utilities.
Tornadoes can appear suddenly and strike randomly, so be alert during times of severe weather.
What To Do:
- Be prepared, as tornadoes can form at any time of year. Peak tornado season in the southern states is March through May. In the northern states, it is late spring through early summer. Tornadoes occur in every state in the country.
- Seek shelter in the lowest level of your home (basement or storm cellar). No basement? Go to an inner hallway, a smaller inner room, or a closet.
- Keep away from all windows.
- Make sure you have a battery-powered radio nearby.
- Cushion yourself with a mattress, but do not use one to cover yourself.
- Cover yoru head and eyes with a blanket or jacket to protect yourself from flying debris and broken glass.
Severe Winter Weather
Winter storms can occur at temperatures that are near or below freezing. In the U.S., heavy snows tend to be more frequent with temperatures between 20°F and 30°F.
What To Do:
- Keep your car’s gas tank full for emergency use, and to prevent fuel line from freezing.
- If you must drive, tell someone the route you plan to take and your ETA.
- If you don't have anti-lock brakes, pump—don't slam—your brakes.
If you become stranded:
- Tie a brightly colored cloth to the antenna and raise it high.
- Start your car and use the heater for about 10 minutes every hour.
- Leave the overhead light on when engine is running so that you can be seen.
- Move your arms and legs to keep blood circulating and to stay warm.
FAMILY DISASTER PLAN CHECKLIST
Make Sure you have the following essentials on hand:
- Battery-operated weather radio
- Rayovac Flashlight
- Extra Rayovac Batteries
- First Aid Kit (one for your home and one for each car)
- Prescription and non-prescription drugs
- Tools and supplies (paper cups, utility knife, hammer, matches, etc.)
- Personal supplies to maintain sanitation (toilet paper, paper towels, household chlorine bleach, etc.)
- Clothing and bedding
- Supplies for infants and toddlers
- Pet supplies
- Important family documents
- Entertainment (games and books)
(NOTE: Perishable contents should be changed or replaced every six months.)
- Decide ahead of time where to go if you are at home, school, work, outdoors, or in a car when a severe weather warning is issued.
- Agree upon a place to meet if separated.
- Designate a friend or relative outside of the area as your contact if you are separated during severe weather.
- If your area is vulnerable to weather extremes, get a good map and plan an evacuation route.
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