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Severe Weather Is Expected — What You Should Do

Mar 22, 2022 07:59AM ● By Editor
From the American Red Cross • March 22, 2022

Severe weather season has arrived in many parts of the U.S. and is right around the corner for others.  The American Red Cross has steps people should take to get ready, as well as safety steps to follow.

  1. GET A KIT. Learn what supplies are essential for your emergency kit.
  2. MAKE A PLAN.Plan with household members about what to do during emergencies.
  3. BE INFORMED. Know the risks where you live, work, learn and play.

Tornado Safety Know the difference between a tornado watch and warning. A tornado watch means a tornado is possible. A tornado warning means a tornado is already occurring or will occur soon.

  • Know your community’s warning system, for example many areas use outdoor sirens.
  • Watch for tornado danger signs: dark and greenish clouds, a wall cloud or cloud of debris.
  • Bring your pets indoors and keep an eye on them.
  • If you have time, move or secure outside items that can be picked up by wind.
  • During a tornadowarning, go to your safe place immediately — a basement, storm cellar or interior room on the lowest floor with no windows. In a high-rise, pick a hallway in the center of the building.
  • If you live in a mobile home, find a safe place in a nearby sturdy building or vehicle. No mobile home is safe in a tornado.
  • If you’re outside, seek shelter in a basement, shelter or sturdy building.
  • If you cannot quickly walk to a shelter, immediately get in a vehicle and try to drive to the closest sturdy shelter. Remember to buckle your seatbelt. Stay away from bridges or highway overpasses. If strong winds and flying debris occur while driving, pull over and park. Keep your seatbelt on and the engine running. Put your head down below the windows and cover your head with your hands and a blanket. 

Thunderstorm Safety Watch for storm signs, such as darkening skies, lightning flashes and increasing wind.

  • If thunder roars, go indoors. If you can hear thunder, you are close enough to be in danger of lightning.
  • Postpone outdoor activities if thunderstorms are likely to occur. Many people struck by lightning aren’t in the area where it’s raining.
  • Take shelter in a substantial building or vehicle with the windows closed.
  • If you are driving, try to safely exit the road and park.
  • If you’re outside and cannot reach a safe building, avoid high ground, water, tall or isolated trees and metal objects, such as fences 
  • and bleachers.
  • If someone has been struck by lightning, call 911.

You should also download the free Red Cross Emergency app to have severe weather safety information right at your fingertips. The Emergency app provides real-time weather alerts and tips on how to stay safe during severe weather and countless other emergencies. Search “American Red Cross” in app stores or go to redcross.org/apps.  
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