by Krystal Smith, American Red Cross, Regional Digital Communications Specialist
Spring storm season is officially here and if current weather patterns are any indicator, it could be a doozy! Not to fear, we’ve got the top tips & tricks to help you weather the most common Texas storms the Red Cross way.
In North Texas, the most common types of Spring storms include tornadoes, lightning, thunderstorms, hail storms and flooding that can cause significant damage and even death.
The best way to prepare for any storm is to prepare TODAY! Taking steps now can help keep you safe should severe weather come your way.
Severe thunderstorms produce lighning and sometimes produce hail, flash floods and high winds. Ideally, if thunderstorms are expected you could avoid outdoor activities. Being indoors is the safest place to be during a thunderstorm. However, if you are outside and a thunderstorm producing hail hits, seek cover. You want to stand beneath a sturdy structure and avoid windows and entryways to protect yourself from hail and lightning.
If you’re in your car when the hail storm strikes, pull off the road and turn away from your windows in case the hail causes the glass to break.
Did you know that floods are the leading cause of weather-related deaths in America?? There are two main types of floods, overland and flash. In North Texas, the greatest risk is flash floods which occur when drainage systems can’t keep up with the heavy rainfall.
To prepare for floods make sure to seal copies of important documents in a water proof bag and have your emergency kit handy. If you find yourself in the middle of a flood, move to higher ground as quickly as possible. In extreme flooding conditions where you are trapped in your house and the water is continuing to rise, call 9-1-1. Do NOT go into your attic as you can become trapped. Instead climb onto the roof of your house so you can been seen by emergency responders.
Remember, Turn Around Don’t Drown! If only takes 6 inches of water to sweep you off your feet and only 2 feet of water to float a sedan. When you see water on a roadway, there is no telling how deep the water is or if the road beneath was washed away with the inclement weather. To keep yourself safe, turn around and try a different direction.
What’s the difference between a tornado watch and tornado warning? Knowing the difference between a weather watch or weather warning is important. A WATCH indicates meteorologists are watching the weather conditions because there are favorable conditions for a weather emergency. A WARNING indicates the weather emergency has been confirmed and immediate action is necessary.
The best way to prepare is to designated a safe room in your house. This room should be without windows, in the most interior room on the lowest level of your home. Keep the room clean so you can access it quickly and keep your emergency kit stored there.
If you live in an apartment or a house that does not have a room without a window, a bathroom might be the safest option. Lay in your bathtub and cover yourself with heavy blankets for protection. If you live in a mobile home, quickly leave your residence and seek a storm shelter. There is no safe place in mobile home.
If you are driving, pull over, get in a low-lying area and cover your head. Do NOT hide under an overpass! If you have no other choice than to stay in the car, keep your seat belt on, roll up the windows and bend down as far as you can covering your head.
Take Action Today!
The best way to be prepared for any disasters is to stay informed, have an emergency kit and make a plan.
- Downloading the Red Cross Emergency App will help alert you to severe weather and provide you safety tips for before, during and after any weather emergency.
- Build an emergency kit to keep in your safe room, car and office. You never when a disaster can occur so it’s important to be prepared everywhere you go. See a full list of emergency kit essentials here.
- Make a plan and practice it with everyone in your home. The plan should include where to go in the case of an emergency both inside the home an outside the home.
We may not be able to prevent inclement weather, but we can prepare for it!