Severe Weather Tips
What you need to know to stay safe during severe weather, including tornadoes, lightning and snow.
What You Can Do BEFORE the Storm
- Develop a plan for you and your family for home, work, school and when outdoors.
- Have frequent drills.
- Know the county/parish in which you live, and keep a highway map nearby to follow storm movement from weather bulletins.
- Have a NOAA Weather Radio with a warning alarm tone and battery back-up to receive warnings.
- Listen to the radio and television for information.
- If planning a trip outdoors, listen to the latest forecasts and take necessary action if threatening weather is possible.
What You Can Do DURING the Storm
- In a home or building, move to a pre-designated shelter, such as a basement.
- If an underground shelter is not available, move to an interior room or hallway on the lowest floor and get under a sturdy piece of furniture.
- Stay away from windows.
- Get out of automobiles.
- Do not try to outrun a tornado in your car; instead, leave it immediately.
- Mobile homes, even if tied down, offer little protection from tornadoes and should be abandoned.
Summer is the peak season for one of the nation's deadliest weather phenomena— lightning. In the United States, an average of 66 people are killed each year by lightning. In 2005, there were 43 confirmed deaths and 172 confirmed injuries. As of October 1, there were 44 confirmed lightning deaths in 2006. The injury number is likely far lower than it should be because many people do not seek help or doctors do not record it as a lightning injury. People struck by lightning suffer from a variety of long-term, debilitating symptoms, including memory loss, attention deficits, sleep disorders, numbness, dizziness, stiffness in joints, irritability, fatigue, weakness, muscle spasms, depression, and an inability to sit for long.
What to do if you are OUTSIDE
- Find shelter
- Try to stay dry
- Cover all exposed parts of the body
- If you cannot find shelter:
- Prepare a lean-to, wind-break, or snow cave for protection from the wind.
- Build a fire for heat and to attract attention.
- Place rocks around the fire to absorb and reflect heat.
- Do not eat snow, it will lower your body temperature. Melt it first.
What to do if you are IN A CAR OR TRUCK
- Stay in your car or truck. Disorientation occurs quickly in wind-driven snow and cold.
- Run the motor about ten minutes each hour for heat:
- Open the window a little for fresh air to avoid carbon monoxide poisoning.
- Make sure the exhaust pipe is not blocked.
- Make yourself visible to rescuers:
- Turn on the dome light at night when running engine.
- Tie a colored cloth (preferably red) to your antenna or door.
- Raise the hood indicating trouble after snow stops falling.
- Exercise from time to time by vigorously moving arms, legs, fingers, and toes to keep blood circulating and to keep warm.
What to do if you are AT HOME OR IN A BUILDING
- Stay inside. When using ALTERNATIVE HEAT from a fireplace, wood stove, space heater, etc.:
- Use fire safeguards.
- Properly ventilate.
- If you have no heat:
- Close off unneeded rooms.
- Stuff towels or rags in cracks under doors.
- Cover windows at night.
- Eat and drink. Food provides the body with energy for producing its own heat. Keep the body replenished with fluids to prevent dehydration.
- Wear layers of loose-fitting, lightweight, warm clothing. Remove layers to avoid overheating, perspiration, and subsequent chill.
Source: National Weather Service