Caution: Severe Weather Impending from Texas to Chicago

If you are not already aware, severe weather is in the forecast beginning today and possibly continuing for at least the next 36 hours. Much of the central part of the country is under threat of severe thunderstorms including lightning, large hail, damaging winds, possible long track tornadoes, and more flooding. From Texas to Illinois, it is paramount that people pay attention to weather forecasts as well as to conditions in their area.

If you don’t already have one, it’s a good idea to pick up a weather radio, one that will alert you if dangerous weather is heading your way. Many dangerous storms occur at night while people are sleeping, and having such a warning system can and does save lives.

For those who don’t yet have a severe weather plan in place, it’s not too late. Determine where you will go if you need to leave your home, or where inside your home is the best possible storm safety area. Make sure everyone is aware of the plan. Those who don’t have basements or live in mobile homes or other less than substantial structures, should seek other shelter, before a storm descends. If you do plan to leave if things get extreme, make sure everyone is dressed, has shoes, jackets, etc. near the door, where they can be found easily (sleeping in something comfortable but suitable enough to wear when leaving the house is suggested).

However, once a tornado warning has been issued, it’s best to take cover where you are. Trying to outrun a tornado in a vehicle is extremely dangerous (and even more so in the dark of night when you cannot see the tornado or determine its direction). Find a low lying area such as a ditch, lie down, and cover your head. While many people used to think that hiding under an overpass was a good idea, it is not advised.

Be very careful when traveling during storms, as it takes very little water on a roadway to lift your vehicle. If the road is under water, even if it doesn’t look like a lot of water, it is advised that you try a different route.

Please, keep tuned in to good weather information over the next couple of days if you are in or near the threatened areas. Make sure you have fresh batteries for radios (and flashlights) in case of power outages.

The Weather Channel has a system called Notify that will inform you of impending severe weather, by phone, cell phone (voice or text), or email. There is a free trial version available.

*Please, take these warnings seriously. The Weather Channel is saying that this impending storm system may be the worst severe weather outbreak of the year.

*Here are some more useful tips, and there are many more in the Be Prepared Blog, covering numerous situations (the blog is on hiatus but there is still a lot of good information):

Your Home: Severe Weather Checkup

Planning for Tornadoes / Preparing for Flooding

A Tornado Bag / Emergency Kits

Planning for an Evacuation

Planning for Emergencies at School

Preparing Your Child for an Emergency

Five Ways to Make Emergency Drills Fun and Effective

Protecting Important Documents

Be safe and God bless.