Severe Thunderstorm & Lightning Safety
Updated On: Mar 04 2011 03:53:42 AM CST
SEVERE THUNDERSTORM SAFETY TIPS
What causes a tornado?
Storms come in all shapes and sizes, and severe weather can strike with little warning. Thunderstorms can contain strong winds and hail, sometimes tornadoes and flash flooding. It is important to be prepared and be informed when severe thunderstorm or tornado watches and warnings are posted in your area.
BEFORE THE STORM:
- Keep a battery-powered radio, flashlight and cell-phone.
- Select a sheltered area in your home.
- Know the location of shelters in public places.
- Inventory your possessions and keep the list in a safe place.
During the Storm
- Go to a cellar, storm shelter or basement if a storm warning is issued.
- Otherwise, take cover in an interior hall, closet or windowless bathroom on the first floor.
- If nothing else, get under heavy furniture and cover yourself with blankets or go to your bathtub and cover yourself with a mattress.
IN MOBILE HOMES...
- Get out immediately!
- Take shelter elsewhere in a sturdier structure.
IN PUBLIC BUILDINGS...
- Go to a designated shelter area.
- Stay away from storefronts and windows.
IN AN AUTOMOBILE...
- Automobiles offer no protection in large tornadoes. Hiding under highway overpasses can also be a death trap.
- Check the weather report before travelling so you don't get caught in a stormy situation.
- Follow your teacher's instructions.
- Stay away from windows.
- Avoid gyms or auditoriums.
- Take shelter in interior halls.
IN OPEN COUNTRY...
- Move away from the storm at right angles.
- If unable to move, lie flat in the lowest ground possible.
From the Govenor's Division of Emergency Management -
AUSTIN ? Sports fields are dangerous places to be during thunderstorms due to the danger of lightning strikes. That?s why the National Weather Service and the Governor?s Division of Emergency Management urge Texans to delay the game when thunderstorms approach.
In wide open areas like sports fields or golf courses, YOU may be the tallest object. In addition, metal bleachers, fences, light poles and goal posts attract lightning. When lightning hits these objects, the charge travels along the object, potentially injuring anyone in contact with the metal. Lightning can bounce off any of these objects and strike people nearby.
Officials with schools, athletic programs, day care centers and summer camps, as well as coaches, referees and parents need to understand the dangers. Be prepared to suspend games and move the players and spectators inside nearby buildings or into cars and buses until the storm threat passes. Here are some lightning safety tips:
- If you hear thunder, you are close enough to be struck by lightning. Take shelter.
- If you are outdoors with no shelter available, stay low.
- Move away from hills and high places. Avoid tall, isolated trees.
- Do not touch metal objects, such as tennis rackets, baseball bats or golf clubs.
- Do not ride bicycles, or lean against fences or metal sheds.
- Do not lean against a car or truck -- get inside the vehicle quickly.
- For more information on preparing yourself for bad weather, log on to:
LIGHTNING SAFETY TIPS
Did you know lightning kills more people every year than tornadoes and hurricanes? You hear more about tornadoes and hurricanes when they occur, but lightning is something that we take too "lightly."
Many people who are struck by lightning do not die. In fact, an average of 1 in 5 people struck by lightning will die. Quick medical attention, usually in the form of CPR, is needed for those who are struck by lightning.
There are warning signs of an impending lightning strike. First, you will feel all of your hair tingle or shoot straight up. When this occurs, lightning is getting ready to strike within one to ten seconds. While this may look or sound funny, it is nature's way of telling you that you are about to be a lightning victim.
To survive a lightning strike, try the following:
First, crouch down like a catcher behind home plate on the balls of your feet. Don't let your knees touch the ground.
Second, bow your head down and put your hands behind your head. These safety rules won't keep lightning from striking you, but is will help keep you alive if you are struck directly.
If you can hear thunder from a storm, you are too close! Go inside a building, like your house or a business. If you are caught outside, get inside a car or truck. Don't ride bikes and golf carts. Stay away from trees, telephone poles, television antennas or other tall objects. If you are caught in the open, get in your crouched position and stay put.
KTXS Weather Center 12 has a tool to let you know if a thunderstorm is producing dangerous lightning. Lightning Tracker 12, a state of the art lightning detection system tells KTXS when and where cloud to ground lightning strikes occur anywhere in the United States, Canada and Mexico! We can even go down to a city street anywhere in the Big Country and tell you which block and street a lightning strike has hit.
Many Big Country residents spend a great deal of time outdoors. With Lightning Tracker 12 , you will know instantly how much lightning to expect so you can take safety precautions.