Staying safe during severe weather

Thunderstorms and flash floods

Ohio is at a greater risk for severe thunderstorms during the spring and summer months. Severe thunderstorms can cause significant damage, including high winds, lightning, hail, tornadoes and flash floods. The National Weather Service and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration will issue severe weather watches, warnings and advisories that inform the public of the appropriate actions to take in the face of severe weather.

Before severe weather strikes, there are a few things you can do to increase your safety. First, identify sturdy facilities to take cover. While your home should suffice for after work hours, you may be in the office during severe weather. If you often work outside, find a facility that could serve as a tornado shelter if needed.

At home, maintain any trees on your property that could become dangerous in high winds by trimming branches or removing them completely. Secure any outdoor furniture you may have so that it doesn’t become flying debris. Finally, consider purchasing surge protectors or other lightning protection systems to protect your home, appliances and other electronic devices.

Being indoors is the safest place to be during a severe weather situation. Get in the basement or on the ground floor in an interior room. Avoid using running water or landline phones because electricity can pass through plumbing and phone lines. Unplug any important electric devices that could be damaged during a surge in electricity.

If you are swimming or boating, get to dry land as quickly as possible and find a sturdy building or vehicle immediately. If you’re already in your vehicle, stay inside and avoid touching anything metal.

With any significant rainfall, there is a chance of flooding. Flash floods are floods that begin within six hours and within three hours of heavy rainfall. Flash floods can also occur due to mudslides, and or dam or levee breaks. Flash flooding is possible everywhere and typically occur so fast that it takes people by surprise.

If you’re told to evacuate, make sure that you do so immediately. Make sure to avoid flooded roadways and remember the phrase “Turn Around, Don’t Drown”. It only takes six inches of fast-moving water to knock you down and one foot of water can sweep your vehicle away.

As always in emergency situations, stay calm and listen to first responders.

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