Spring can bring severe weather, as many residents of the Northeast and Midwest saw with this week’s snow and ice. Other types of severe weather are much more common this time of year. Here are some tips to help you stay safe if you find yourself facing a thunderstorm, flood, or tornado.
Thunderstorms are most common in the spring and summer in the afternoon or evening hours, but they can happen at any time. All thunderstorms produce lightning. More people die from lightning every year than from tornadoes or hurricanes. Here are some tips to help you stay safe:
• If there is a thunderstorm in the forecast, postpone any planned outdoor activities. Many people are struck by lightning even if it is not raining.
• Look for signs of an approaching thunderstorm, such as a darkening sky, lightning, or wind.
• If you hear thunder, go inside because the storm is close enough for you to be in danger from lightning.
• Seek out shelter in a building or a car with the windows rolled up. Make sure the windows and doors in a building are closed securely, and stay away from windows.
• Do not bathe or use plumbing during a thunderstorm.
Flooding is also common in the spring. Melting snow and heavy spring rains can cause rivers and streams to overflow. Flash floods can happen quickly. If a flood or flash flood warning is issued, be prepared to evacuate at a moment’s notice. Follow these steps if you find yourself in a flooded area:
• Avoid floodwaters. If the water is above your ankles, find another route. You can be swept away in six inches of water.
• If you are driving and come to a flooded area, turn around and try an alternate route. If you are caught in a flood and cannot drive away, get out of your vehicle and move to higher ground. A car can be swept away in less than two feet of water.
• Be extra careful at night because it is harder to recognize danger in the dark.
• Keep children away from water. They might not recognize the danger.
Tornadoes can occur anywhere at any time of the year or day. They are most common in the spring on warm days between 3:00 and 9:00 pm. If you live in an area that is known for tornadoes, here are some things you should do to be ready:
• Familiarize yourself with your community’s warning system. Sign up to receive phone or text alerts.
• Choose a place where your family can gather if there is a tornado. This should be a basement or an interior room on the ground floor with no windows.
• Remove any dead or diseased limbs from trees to prevent them from blowing away and causing damage.
• Move or secure anything that could blow away, such as trash cans, lawn furniture, or plants.
• Learn to recognize the warning signs of a tornado. These are dark or greenish clouds, a funnel or wall cloud, flying debris, large hail, and a roaring noise.
You can prepare for these and other emergencies by making sure you have plenty of emergency food, water, and supplies such as flashlights, a radio, and sanitation equipment. 1st Aid Supplies has all the supplies you need to prepare for a weather-related emergency. Look through our selection of products to find the supplies you need.