In Ohio, summer means cookouts, pool parties, and late-night bonfires. However, unpredictable weather doesn’t always cooperate with plans for outdoor fun. You can learn how to be prepared and plan for severe storms like thunderstorms, tornadoes, and floods that are common this time of year.
In the event of any one of these storms the three most important things to do are to get a kit, make a plan, and be informed. Have an emergency preparedness kit ready to go with items such as bottled water, non-perishable food, a battery-powered or hand-crank radio, and a first-aid kit. Make a plan with members of your household in an event of a weather emergency. Pick a place to meet or have a route mapped out in the case of an evacuation. Be aware of the emergency plan at work or at your child’s school.
Always remain informed about the weather forecast, especially when planning outdoor activities. Note a safe place in the event of severe weather and seek shelter immediately if there are signs of a storm. If possible, stay informed by listening to a local radio station or weather channel on TV. Also, know the difference between a watch and a warning. A watch means that a threat of severe weather is possible and to stay informed. A warning means a storm has been spotted or indicated by radar and to seek shelter immediately.
Severe thunderstorms can produce hail, strong winds over 65 mph, dangerous lightening, and in some cases even tornadoes. If a thunderstorm is possible bring in anything from outside that could break or be blown away in strong winds. Be sure to clear any loose limbs or debris from around the house that could become dangerous. Pick a spot in a basement, cellar, or interior room with no windows to meet. If caught in a thunderstorm while driving, pull to the shoulder away from trees or other tall objects and wait for the storm to pass.
In case of a tornado, know your local warning system. Many communities have sirens. Be aware of the danger signs for a tornado, such as dark greenish clouds, large hail, funnel clouds, and a roaring noise. If you are outside and can’t quickly walk to a shelter, get into a vehicle and try to drive immediately to a sturdy building. Also know that no mobile home is safe in a tornado.
Floods can be caused by excessive rain or snowmelt or a break in nearby levee, dam, or water/sewer system. A flash flood happens quickly with little to no warning. In the event of a flood, move to higher ground where flooding is less likely. Evacuate if directed by local authorities and don’t walk or drive through floodwater. In your home, move items to higher ground if possible, and turn off power and water mains if told to do so. Have fresh bottled water available.
For more information and tips in the event of any type of emergency, visit How To Prepare For Emergencies on the American Red Cross Website.