The Plains region is no stranger to severe weather conditions, and with a severe thunderstorm forecast in the coming days, it’s important to be prepared. Thunderstorms are not only dangerous but can also be deadly, and it’s essential to know how to stay safe during one. In this article, we’ll provide some tips to help you prepare for severe thunderstorms and stay safe.
Understanding Severe Thunderstorms
Before we get into safety tips, it’s important to understand what a severe thunderstorm is. A thunderstorm is considered severe when it produces hail that is an inch or larger in diameter, wind gusts of 58 miles per hour or more, or a tornado. Severe thunderstorms can cause significant damage to buildings, vehicles, and other structures.
Safety Tips for Severe Thunderstorms
Here are some safety tips to help you stay safe during severe thunderstorms:
Monitor the Weather
One of the most important things you can do during severe weather conditions is to monitor the weather. Pay attention to weather alerts and warnings issued by the National Weather Service, and keep an eye on local news channels for updates.
If a severe thunderstorm is approaching, seek shelter immediately. Go to a sturdy building and stay away from windows. If you’re outdoors, find a low-lying area and crouch down to protect yourself from lightning.
Avoid Electrical Equipment
During a thunderstorm, it’s best to avoid electrical equipment and corded phones. If you must use a phone, use a cordless one instead. Stay away from appliances, computers, and other electrical equipment that could put you at risk of electrocution.
If you’re in a vehicle during a severe thunderstorm, pull over and park. Stay inside the vehicle with the windows closed and avoid touching any metal surfaces. If you’re in a mobile home or RV, leave and find a sturdy building to take shelter in.
Have a Plan
Having a plan in place before a severe thunderstorm strikes is crucial. Make sure your family knows what to do and where to go in the event of a severe thunderstorm. Have an emergency kit ready that includes water, non-perishable food, flashlights, and a first-aid kit.
Severe thunderstorms are a common occurrence in many parts of the world, and they can bring about devastating effects. It is essential to know how to recognize the signs of a severe thunderstorm and prepare accordingly. In this article, we’ll explore the signs of severe thunderstorms and what to do to stay safe during one.
Signs of Severe Thunderstorms
There are several signs that a severe thunderstorm is approaching, including:
- Dark, cloudy skies: If the sky suddenly becomes dark and cloudy, it could be a sign that a severe thunderstorm is on the way.
- Lightning: Lightning is often one of the first signs of an approaching thunderstorm. If you hear thunder, you are within striking distance of lightning, and you should seek shelter immediately.
- Strong winds: Strong winds that suddenly pick up can be a sign that a severe thunderstorm is approaching.
Understanding Hail and Wind Gusts
Hail and wind gusts are common features of severe thunderstorms, and they can be dangerous. Here’s what you need to know about them:
- Hail: Hail is formed when raindrops are carried high into the atmosphere by strong updrafts, and they freeze into ice. Hailstones can range in size from pea-sized to softball-sized, and they can cause significant damage to buildings, vehicles, and crops.
- Wind Gusts: Wind gusts of 58 miles per hour or more are considered severe and can cause significant damage. They can uproot trees, knock down power lines, and damage buildings.
The Importance of Emergency Kits
Having an emergency kit is crucial when preparing for severe thunderstorms. Here are some essential items to include in your kit:
- Water: You should have at least one gallon of water per person per day.
- Non-perishable food: Include food that doesn’t require refrigeration or cooking, such as canned goods, granola bars, and dried fruits.
- Flashlights: Make sure you have extra batteries for your flashlights.
- First-aid kit: Include bandages, gauze, alcohol wipes, and any prescription medications you may need.
- Blankets: Keep extra blankets in your kit to stay warm in case of a power outage.
In conclusion, severe thunderstorms can be dangerous and cause significant damage. By understanding the signs of severe thunderstorms and preparing accordingly, you can minimize the risks associated with these events. Remember to monitor the weather, seek shelter, and have an emergency kit ready. Stay safe and be prepared!