Severe Weather Awareness Week, March 5-9
Severe Weather Awareness Week, March 5-9
(Harris County, TX) -- The Harris County Office of Homeland Security & Emergency Management joins the National Weather Service (NWS) to promote Severe Weather Awareness Week, March 5-9, 2018.
The week is designed to remind and educate everyone about the seasonal threats from severe weather and how to avoid them. It's also a great time to make and practice your emergency plan and build or refresh your emergency preparedness kit.
Although severe weather can occur any time of the year, springtime is when thunderstorms and tornadoes occur most often in Texas. They bring all the devastating elements - tornadoes, lightning, large hail, damaging winds and flash flooding. These threats can develop rapidly with little warning.
Drivers should never underestimate the power of flood waters.
• Six inches of water can cause tires to lose traction and begin to slide.
• Twelve inches of water can float many cars. Two feet of rushing water will carry off pick-up trucks, SUVs and most other vehicles.
• Water across a road may hide a missing segment of roadbed or a missing bridge.
• In flash floods, waters rise so rapidly they may be far deeper by the time you are halfway across, trapping you in your vehicle.
• Flash floods are especially treacherous at night when it is very difficult to see how deep waters may be or how fast water is rising.
• Floodwater weakens roadbeds. Drivers should proceed cautiously after waters have receded, since the road may collapse under the weight of the vehicle.
• Lives can be saved every year if drivers follow this one rule: when there’s water on the road, turn around, don’t drown.
Lightning is dangerous because it can occur during any storm.
• Lightning can strike as far away as ten miles from the area in which rain is falling. That’s why you should follow the “30/30” lightning safety rule. If you cannot count to 30 between the time lightning flashes and the time that you hear the rumble of thunder, it is not safe to remain outside. Remain indoors for 30 minutes after hearing the last sound of thunder.
• Lightning tends to strike tall objects as well as metal objects, and can travel through moist soils for dozens of feet. Move into a sturdy building and stay away from windows and doors. For increased protection, avoid electric appliances or metal plumbing. Stay off the telephone.
• If you are outside, you can take cover in the interior of a car, truck or bus. To be safe, do not touch metal on the inside of the vehicle. The outside bed of a truck is a deadly location. Do not lean against a car or truck - get inside the vehicle quickly.
• If you are outdoors with no shelter available, stay low. Move away from hills and high places, and 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.
• If you feel your hair suddenly stand on end, it means you may be a lightning target. Crouch low on the balls of your feet and try not to touch the ground with your knees or hands.Avoid wet areas that can conduct the lightning charge.
Tornadoes can occur at any time of year but happen most often in spring and summer.
• Monitor TV and radio broadcasts for storm information, as well as NOAA weather radio.
• Seek shelter in an interior room on the lowest floor of a home, office or other building. Shelter in a windowless area: a stairwell, bathroom, hallway or storage closet.
• Avoid any area with a wide, unsupported roof such as an auditorium, gymnasium, cafeteria or theater. Avoid areas with windows or large amounts of glass.
• If you are in a mobile home, get out immediately and take shelter in a nearby sturdy building. If there is no nearby building, lie flat in a ditch or ravine. Watch out for flooding.
• Never try to outrun a tornado in your car. Leave the car and lie flat in a ditch or ravine. If a building is nearby, take shelter inside. Avoid highway overpasses.
• At school, follow the drill and go to a designated shelter area, usually interior hallways on the lowest floor. Avoid auditoriums, gyms and areas with wide, free-span roofs.
• Go to the interior rooms and halls on the lowest floor of a shopping center. Do not leave the shopping center to get in your car.
• If you are in open country, take cover on low, protected ground. Keep an eye out for flooding.
Remember to always have a plan and stay informed to protect yourself against potential severe weather threats.
More information at:
Harris County Office of Homeland Security & Emergency Management